the cause of some of the world's most devastating amounts

jesusguime

Banned
Chinese
Outside of war and disease, earthquake have been the cause of some of the world's most devastating amounts of death and destruction.


Hi, nice guys.

I can't decide the meaning of "devastating" in the above. Does it mean surprising or destructive? Thank you very much.
 
  • jesusguime

    Banned
    Chinese
    Thank you, Dimcl.
    Because it sounds better to say "the world's most surprising amounts of death and destruction" than "the world's most destructive amounts of death and destruction."
     

    Dimcl

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    Thank you, Dimcl.
    Because it sounds better to say "the world's most surprising amounts of death and destruction" than "the world's most destructive amounts of death and destruction."
    Well, "devastating" doesn't really mean "destructive", either, jesusguime. Here's the definition from Dictionary.com:

    –verb (used with object), -tat·ed, -tat·ing. 1.to lay waste; render desolate: The invaders devastated the city. 2.to overwhelm.

    Something can be destructive but not devastating. A mild earthquake could hit a city and be destructive enough to knock down two buildings - this, however, would not be considered "devastating".

    You shouldn't change the meanings of words because they "sound better". Here's your sentence:

    "Outside of war and disease, earthquakes have been the cause of some of the world's most devastating amounts of death and destruction."

    If you analyze the sentence, "surprising" doesn't fit at all. Why would the death and destruction be "surprising"? The sentence is talking about earthquakes in general. Some are devastating, some are not. They have, however, caused much devestation, outside of war and disease.

    Always go back to your dictionary and then try to figure out why a word was used.
     

    jesusguime

    Banned
    Chinese
    Well, "devastating" doesn't really mean "destructive", either, jesusguime. Here's the definition from Dictionary.com:

    –verb (used with object), -tat·ed, -tat·ing. 1.to lay waste; render desolate: The invaders devastated the city. 2.to overwhelm.

    Something can be destructive but not devastating. A mild earthquake could hit a city and be destructive enough to knock down two buildings - this, however, would not be considered "devastating".

    You shouldn't change the meanings of words because they "sound better". Here's your sentence:

    "Outside of war and disease, earthquakes have been the cause of some of the world's most devastating amounts of death and destruction."

    If you analyze the sentence, "surprising" doesn't fit at all. Why would the death and destruction be "surprising"? The sentence is talking about earthquakes in general. Some are devastating, some are not. They have, however, caused much devestation, outside of war and disease.

    Always go back to your dictionary and then try to figure out why a word was used.
    Thanks, Dimcl.
    No, I didn't mean that; I mean "the amounts of death and destruction" is surprising.
     

    Dimcl

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    Thanks, Dimcl.
    No, I didn't mean that; I mean "the amounts of death and destruction" is surprising.
    I understand what you meant but I don't understand why you think that "devastating" means "surprising". It may be surprising to you but that's not what the sentence says. The amount of death and destruction caused by earthquakes may, indeed, be surprising to you or others but this sentence is simply a statement of fact that earthquakes have been the cause of devastating amounts of death and destruction.

    I am still interested in your rationale for substituting "surprising" for "devastating". If you used "surprising" in this sentence, the meaning of the sentence is entirely changed.
     

    jesusguime

    Banned
    Chinese
    I understand what you meant but I don't understand why you think that "devastating" means "surprising". It may be surprising to you but that's not what the sentence says. The amount of death and destruction caused by earthquakes may, indeed, be surprising to you or others but this sentence is simply a statement of fact that earthquakes have been the cause of devastating amounts of death and destruction.

    I am still interested in your rationale for substituting "surprising" for "devastating". If you used "surprising" in this sentence, the meaning of the sentence is entirely changed.
    Thank you, Dimcl.
    My rationale is that "devastating amounts of death and destruction" sounds weird to you, and it's hard to translate it into our language.
     

    Dimcl

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    Thank you, Dimcl.
    My rationale is that "devastating amounts of death and destruction" sounds weird to you (it doesn't sound at all weird to me), and it's hard to translate it into our language.
    Just keep in mind that "surprising amounts of death and destruction" changes the entire meaning of the sentence.:)
     
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