to wipe out or to eliminate

Discussion in 'English Only' started by tobegood, Dec 13, 2013.

  1. tobegood Senior Member

    I read somewhere that there is a trend in the English language of the growing use of the Anglo-Saxon phrasal verbs, especially in journalism. For example, the use of "wipe out" would be more popular than "eliminate".

    Do you share the same idea? Thanks.
  2. owlman5

    owlman5 Senior Member

    There have always been writers who prefer to use words and phrases that have an Anglo-Saxon origin in their English, tobegood. I'm not so sure that the "trend" is anything new. I often prefer such words and phrases, as I have done for a long time.

    "To wipe something out" sounds livelier to me than "to eliminate something."

    Welcome to the forum, tobegood.
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2013
  3. tobegood Senior Member


    Hi owlman5, thank you for answering the question in my first thread in this forum.
    Though ”wipe out“ appears to be better in many cases, in other occasions like ”threat eliminated", the latter is better, right?
  4. owlman5

    owlman5 Senior Member

    You are welcome. "Threat eliminated" sounds like something that a soldier would report on a field radio after he destroyed a tank, tobegood.

    I'm certainly not recommending that you forget about words like "eliminate" that don't have Anglo-Saxon roots. English has many words borrowed from Latin, and it would be a mistake to try to avoid all those words. You should use "eliminate" whenever that word makes sense to you, okay?
  5. Myridon

    Myridon Senior Member

    English - US
    "Wipe out" is very informal to me which is partly why it sounds so "lively". "Eliminate" is somewhat formal. Depending on the context, it might be more appropriate to compare "eliminate" to something like "kill" which is in a more neutral register.
  6. Parla Senior Member

    New York City
    English - US
    Welcome to the forum. :)

    The rules of the forum ask that you always to provide a full sentence using the expression(s) you're asking about, with the source if you've read it somewhere. If you haven't read it but are just wondering about how to use it. then you're asked to give us a sentence or sentences as examples. This is necessary because, as you will hear a lot here, it depends on the context—in this case, what was, is, or might be eliminated or wiped out.

    Please give us a sample sentence or two.
  7. tobegood Senior Member


    Hi, thank you for the suggestion. I think a better subject of this question could be "Are Anglo-Saxon Phrasal Verbs becoming more popular?" I didn't have a specific context regarding this question, though I tried to compare wipe out with eliminate in their general usage for my purpose. The answers I received here are useful as they provided new information as well as confirmed some of my previous thoughts.
  8. bearded

    bearded Senior Member

    As a speaker of a language deriving from Latin, I indeed hope that such a trend does not exist, otherwise English would eventually become more difficult for us ''Latins'' - I imagine it would make no difference to a Chinese anyhow.
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2013
  9. tobegood Senior Member

    You are right. It makes little differences to us Chinese because they are all Greek to us before we start learning English. :D But I think the more we learn the more important it is to discern the different word origin, because sometimes what we write is not grammatically wrong but just doesn't sound natural to native speakers.

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