Discussion in 'English Only' started by Ceoltoir, Jan 8, 2013.

  1. Ceoltoir New Member

    Hi! I know there is a slight difference between the words of similiar meaning, but I would like to know if it`s crucial in any way.

    Words such as unimportant, petty, trivial, paltry or broke, penniless, skint, destitude or rich, wealthy, affluent, opulent - Can I treat them as a substitute or some expressions with each of them are inappropriate?
  2. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    Welcome to the forums, Ceoltoir!

    The differences are indeed crucial: there's no such thing as a complete synonym:).
  3. e2efour Senior Member

    England (aged 75)
    UK English
    Hi Ceoltoir, welcome to the forum!

    It is not unusual for native speakers to disagree about the interchangeability of synonyms.
    All synonyms come with baggage attached, which means their use has a history and they often create a different picture in people's minds.
    To take two of your synonyms: I could say Bill Gates is a rich man or Bill Gates is a wealthy man. It does appear (to me at least :)) that they are interchangeable. But the problem arises when we change the noun:
    :tick:The country is rich in forests.
    :cross:The country is wealthy in forests.
  4. Ceoltoir New Member

    Thank you very much. I understand that I just need to find proper example for each word and find out that "minimal" difference and their connotations.
  5. Beryl from Northallerton Senior Member

    British English
    Hello Ceoltoir :).

    In this forum, we require you to provide the examples. Do you have one?
  6. Ceoltoir New Member

    Of course. If I understood correctly, then it should be for example:
    Petty details :tick:
    Trivial details :tick:
    Unimportant details :tick:
    Paltry details :cross: - ?
  7. Beryl from Northallerton Senior Member

    British English
    I agree. Those are common collocations. (And Paltry details :cross: - also true). You can check them like this: "Unimportant details".

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