socially acceptable or accepted

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Senior Member
My students did the following exercise:

The second is that, unlike drugs, alcohol or grambling, shopping is socially __________________ (accept) and therefore easily available. We are constantly bombarded with advertisements persuading us to buy items [...].


The word accept needs to be changed and the correct form has to be filled in.

What the key suggests and what I'd also use: acceptable

But some students wrote accepted. Would you say that that answer is also in order?
  • Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    Yes, that's a perfectly good answer.

    (It might be argued that 'accepted' is a better answer, because it is more objective. Saying that alcohol or gambling are not acceptable sounds to me like a Muslim or Methodist opinion which was perhaps not intended. Saying that they are not accepted is objective, although patently untrue.)


    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    Personally, I would have used "accepted" there. I think it corresponds more closely to what I assume is the underlying message in the sentence, namely that it's become an established practice.

    Against that, you have the fact that "socially acceptable" is a set phrase used to describe something which is generally considered to be a permissible thing to do.

    So it depends on how you interpret the sentence, but I would accept both alternatives as correct. :)
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