unintelligible/opaque

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kansi

Senior Member
japanese
Gentex - An Opaque Future, Too Tough To Call
Jun. 15, 2020 1:29 PMGentex Corporation (GNTX)
Summary
  • Gentex is a company with fabulous financial credentials: top-tier ROIC, high margins, and over 90% market share. All this for a mid-teens or lower forward multiple.
  • However, on closer inspection, the apparently attractive valuation reflects the challenges facing the business in the future: autonomous vehicles and transport-as-a-service.
https://www.google.co.jp/amp/s/seek...353889-gentex-opaque-future-too-tough-to-call

What's the difference in meaning or nuance between that opaque and unintelligible?
 
  • JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    In this sentence "opaque" means "hard to see (through)" not unintelligible: it is hard to see what the future will bring for the company
    o•paque /oʊˈpeɪk/ adj. not allowing light to pass through; difficult to see through.
     

    Ponyprof

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    Opaque is a metaphor taken from the physical world. An opaque substance is one that you can't see through. The opposite of opaque is transparent. You can have opaque glass, opaque curtains to block daylight, etc. Fog can also be opaque.

    Unintelligible means you can't understand something. It means the material or ideas are confused. It does not carry the suggestion that anything is hidden to view, just that it's confused.

    Sometimes they are used as rough synonyms for problems in written communication, but they are rather different problems.
     

    Ponyprof

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    Is this the sense of opaque, which unintelligible doesn't have?
    Yes. If a process or organization is opaque it means a significant amount is hidden from view. It is not transparent. We consider transparency a valuable quality in most organizations and government processes.

    Unintelligible just means confused. I could call a piece of student writing unintelligible if it contained so many errors that I couldn't understand what was meant.

    But I might call a public statement from college administration "opaque" if it was obvious they were trying to cover up an issue. The writing would be clear enough on a sentence by sentence level, but the content would be guarded or misleading.
     

    kansi

    Senior Member
    japanese
    Yes. If a process or organization is opaque it means a significant amount is hidden from view. It is not transparent. We consider transparency a valuable quality in most organizations and government processes.
    I see..something opaque would be confusing in a way?Because if something that is covered up were able to be seen, we would be able to understand it.But being confusing isn't the meaning of opaque but only implies.
     

    Ponyprof

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    I see..something opaque would be confusing in a way?Because if something that is covered up were able to be seen, we would be able to understand it.But being confusing isn't the meaning of opaque but only implies.
    As I said, there are places where you could use either word. But there are many places that only one or the other would fit. We need to look at individual sentences and context to tell. I can't give you a hard and fast abstract rule.
     

    kansi

    Senior Member
    japanese
    As I said, there are places where you could use either word. But there are many places that only one or the other would fit. We need to look at individual sentences and context to tell. I can't give you a hard and fast abstract rule.
    For example, kids don't have the intention to cover something up while writing but they would make mistakes so kids' writing would be unintelligible but it shouldn't be opaque.

    Is this correct?
     

    kansi

    Senior Member
    japanese
    'Opaque' doesn't necessarily suggest an attempt to cover something up or deceive.
    So in my example of kids' writing, it might
    be opaque and it might be unintelligible?

    Or you meant kids might unintentionally cover something up, then the readers would feel that things are covered up. In this case kids' writing is also opaque?
     
    Last edited:

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    Children's writing has nothing to do with being opaque and in my experience is rarely unintelligible unless they are so young they just scribble, pretending to write. 'Opaque' means 'can't know' whether as a result of deliberate obfuscation or not.
     

    kansi

    Senior Member
    japanese
    Children's writing has nothing to do with being opaque and in my experience is rarely unintelligible unless they are so young they just scribble, pretending to write. 'Opaque' means 'can't know' whether as a result of deliberate obfuscation or not.
    I can come up with situations where some people write and cover something up for purpose (as a result of deliberate obfuscation) like a goverment relate document. But I can't come up with situations where people write and cover something up without any intention or purpose.

    What is an example of such a situation?
     
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