reassuring [='something that makes you feel sure about something'?]

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Pomegranate17

New Member
Slovenian
Hello,

I wanted to test my students' vocabulary knowledge so part of the test was also a word "reassuring" - they needed to explain this in English.
I was after "comforting" and (of course) got a variety of answers and I'm not entirely sure if all of them are acceptable. Native speakers, help please!

Would you say that answers such as "something that makes you feel sure about sth", "to reassure someone that something is alright", "to make sure about sth" could describe REASSURING?

Thank you so much :)
 
  • rooster99

    Member
    English- London
    I agree that the best definition would be 'comforting', but that first answer you gave isn't too far from the truth: 'making someone feel sure about something' is, in a way, reassuring them, although reassuring someone doesn't always involve making them sure about something. There's no doubt that those definitions aren't ideal, but depending on the level you expect, you might want to give some of them the benefit of the doubt.

    However, I'd say that the third definition is definitely wrong. As for the second one, it seems to have the general idea, but it has used the word 'reassuring', which doesn't make it a very good definition.
     

    e2efour

    Senior Member
    UK English
    I would say that the adjective reassuring is used when the idea is to make someone more confident or secure, not really to make them sure about something.
    The verb reassure has this meaning and also the removal of doubts.

    To make sure about something does not seem to fit. This is closer to assure oneself (or perhaps ensure).
    You can say something reassuring to someone "to make them feel sure about" e.g. their ability to pass an exam, or to allay their fears (it's alright).

    It may well be difficult for some students to see this difference. :)
     
    Last edited:

    Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    Welcome to the forum. :)
    Would you say that answers such as "something that makes you feel sure about sth", "to reassure someone that something is alright", "to make sure about sth" could describe REASSURING?
    I'd say that all of these answers miss the point, since they all use part of the word "reassuring" to define the word "reassuring". And in my opinion, "dispelling doubts" is a better definition than "comforting". (By the way, you should also let your students know that "sth" is not a recognized abbreviation in English; if they mean something, they should spell out the word.)
     
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