An Adjective Which is Often Misused

Verdinut

Verdinut

Audioholic Ninja
The word "DIFFERENT" is an adjective which is really misused in French. As a matter of fact, it so often becomes a pleonasm when used in so many sentences. If someone is referring to several items or even people, it goes without saying that they all are obviously different. In a lot of situations, the adjective is superfluous and that annoys me when I hear it in a speech, in the news or read it in a text.

Is it the same situation with the American English language? It would be interesting to have your feedback on that.
 
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GO-NAD!

GO-NAD!

Audioholic Spartan
The word "DIFFERENT" is an adjective which is really misused in French. As a matter of fact, it so often becomes a pleonasm when used in so many sentences. If someone is referring to several items or even people, it goes without saying that they all are obviously different. In a lot of situations, the adjective is superfluous and that annoys me when I hear it in a speech, in the news or read it in a text.

Is it the same situation with the American English language? It would be interesting to have your feedback on that.
My fluency in French is...lacking. I never noticed an overuse of the word in that language before.

Vive la différence! :)
 
highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Slumlord
The word "DIFFERENT" is an adjective which is really misused in French. As a matter of fact, it so often becomes a pleonasm when used in so many sentences. If someone is referring to several items or even people, it goes without saying that they all are obviously different. In a lot of situations, the adjective is superfluous and that annoys me when I hear it in a speech, in the news or read it in a text.

Is it the same situation with the American English language? It would be interesting to have your feedback on that.
Can you provide examples? I don't speak French, but the glaring errors I see in common use of English can be pretty annoying. One example of a pleonasm in English is "also, too". Another error is using "still, yet". Using the wrong indefinite article ahead of a vowel sound is pretty annoying, too- "I at a apple" is WRONG, but I don't hear or read the other error, which could be "I rode an horse" unless the person is Cockney, and in that case, it's "I rode an 'orse".

Is the misuse you notice based on dialect/region?
 
Verdinut

Verdinut

Audioholic Ninja
Can you provide examples? I don't speak French, but the glaring errors I see in common use of English can be pretty annoying. One example of a pleonasm in English is "also, too". Another error is using "still, yet". Using the wrong indefinite article ahead of a vowel sound is pretty annoying, too- "I at a apple" is WRONG, but I don't hear or read the other error, which could be "I rode an horse" unless the person is Cockney, and in that case, it's "I rode an 'orse".

Is the misuse you notice based on dialect/region?
The misuse is not based by region. The word is widely misused in Quebec and even by public figures in TV interviews. However, I don't know if the same situation exists in France or Belgium.
An example of its overuse in a sentence is "les différents intervenants" meaning the various participants. Of course they are different people. Another word which is overused by people being interviewed and which I find stupid is when they start their reply by "Écoutez". If someone is asking a question, why wouldn't they listen to the answer?
 
H

Hobbit

Senior Audioholic
The word "DIFFERENT" is an adjective which is really misused in French. As a matter of fact, it so often becomes a pleonasm when used in so many sentences. If someone is referring to several items or even people, it goes without saying that they all are obviously different. In a lot of situations, the adjective is superfluous and that annoys me when I hear it in a speech, in the news or read it in a text.

Is it the same situation with the American English language? It would be interesting to have your feedback on that.
Disclaimer, I don't really know French! However, I know Spanish. I find languages very idiomatic. Words also have slightly different meanings than how we try and translate them to English. There's also regional variation (by me I hear a lot of Spanglish). All combine to make for some interesting and fun translations because there are many ways to say something.

Spanish also uses words where in English they're often dropped or implied. For instance, "that" is often implied in English. When used, it's often for emphasis. Spanish uses "that" all the time even though it's implied (to me!) and would usually be dropped in an English translation. I'm sure a native Spanish speaker finds oddities in English too.

I'm not a rigor person. Therefore, I don't believe one region's version of a language is wrong as long as it's understood.
 
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M

Mr._Clark

Audioholic Field Marshall
The word "DIFFERENT" is an adjective which is really misused in French. As a matter of fact, it so often becomes a pleonasm when used in so many sentences. If someone is referring to several items or even people, it goes without saying that they all are obviously different. In a lot of situations, the adjective is superfluous and that annoys me when I hear it in a speech, in the news or read it in a text.

Is it the same situation with the American English language? It would be interesting to have your feedback on that.
I'm not sure if this is what you're getting at, but the definition of "different" is "partly or totally unlike in nature, form, or quality : dissimilar"


Two people or two items will never be precisely identical in every conceivable way, so adding different (e.g. "two different people" or "two different items") is meaningless unless one assumes that "different" has some significance. In some cases it is clear from the context what is meant, but other times it is not.
 
GO-NAD!

GO-NAD!

Audioholic Spartan
The misuse is not based by region. The word is widely misused in Quebec and even by public figures in TV interviews. However, I don't know if the same situation exists in France or Belgium.
An example of its overuse in a sentence is "les différents intervenants" meaning the various participants. Of course they are different people. Another word which is overused by people being interviewed and which I find stupid is when they start their reply by "Écoutez". If someone is asking a question, why wouldn't they listen to the answer?
I think an English equivalent would be to reply, "Look...". It's just an affectation or a space filler.
 
Swerd

Swerd

Audioholic Warlord
The word "DIFFERENT" is an adjective which is really misused in French. As a matter of fact, it so often becomes a pleonasm when used in so many sentences. If someone is referring to several items or even people, it goes without saying that they all are obviously different. In a lot of situations, the adjective is superfluous and that annoys me when I hear it in a speech, in the news or read it in a text.

Is it the same situation with the American English language? It would be interesting to have your feedback on that.
Although the word 'different' is used often in English, I'm not aware of it getting frequently misused. I do agree that repeated use of that word, or any other word, in a sentence or paragraph might easily be too repetitive, even if it isn't redundant.

For example, "Different people like driving different cars." It isn't redundant, but it does sound repetitive. It might be better to say, "People have a wide range of preferences in the cars they drive." It's better if its shorter, "People prefer different cars."

I believe in omitting needless words. If a sentence is shorter, and uses active voice verbs instead of the passive voice, the sentence is both shorter and has greater impact. When I write, my first draft is usually too wordy and full of passive voice verbs. I usually edit it, to make it brief and impactful. Sometimes I do that here on AH ;).

I like the word 'pleonasm' that you mentioned – the use of more words than are necessary to convey meaning (e.g. see with one's eyes ), either as a fault of style or for emphasis. That fits right in with omitting needless words.

A common pleonasm in English, is adding the word 'very' to an adjective. It was meant to add impact, but usually fails at that. Does 'very different' really add anything to 'different'? I can think of one former US president who often abused that word.
 
H

Hobbit

Senior Audioholic
A common pleonasm in English, is adding the word 'very' to an adjective. It was meant to add impact, but usually fails at that. Does 'very different' really add anything to 'different'? I can think of one former US president who often abused that word.
Spanish uses 'very' a very lot more than English. o_O
 
highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Slumlord
The misuse is not based by region. The word is widely misused in Quebec and even by public figures in TV interviews. However, I don't know if the same situation exists in France or Belgium.
An example of its overuse in a sentence is "les différents intervenants" meaning the various participants. Of course they are different people. Another word which is overused by people being interviewed and which I find stupid is when they start their reply by "Écoutez". If someone is asking a question, why wouldn't they listen to the answer?
I guess "les différents intervenants" can't be used when someone disagrees with others and wants to say "You people are all alike!". :)

I think that 'Écoutez' would be the same as using 'listen' at the beginning of a comment as a way to make their point- I had a customer who would occasionally start with 'Listen to me..... are you listening?"- his speech and voice were similar to Larry King's and I think it may have come from Yiddish.
 
highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Slumlord
Although the word 'different' is used often in English, I'm not aware of it getting frequently misused. I do agree that repeated use of that word, or any other word, in a sentence or paragraph might easily be too repetitive, even if it isn't redundant.

For example, "Different people like driving different cars." It isn't redundant, but it does sound repetitive. It might be better to say, "People have a wide range of preferences in the cars they drive." It's better if its shorter, "People prefer different cars."

I believe in omitting needless words. If a sentence is shorter, and uses active voice verbs instead of the passive voice, the sentence is both shorter and has greater impact. When I write, my first draft is usually too wordy and full of passive voice verbs. I usually edit it, to make it brief and impactful. Sometimes I do that here on AH ;).

I like the word 'pleonasm' that you mentioned – the use of more words than are necessary to convey meaning (e.g. see with one's eyes ), either as a fault of style or for emphasis. That fits right in with omitting needless words.

A common pleonasm in English, is adding the word 'very' to an adjective. It was meant to add impact, but usually fails at that. Does 'very different' really add anything to 'different'? I can think of one former US president who often abused that word.
Maybe "people like driving a variety of cars" would be better but if they use 'variety of different cars', someone needs to step in and teach them how to assemble a sentence.

WRT omitting needless words, yeah.....:)

I had a Technical Communications professor who spoke about writing in a way that minimized words with 3 or more syllables- he called it the 'fog index'. If the words were critical to the information, use them but otherwise, keep them to a minimum.

'To see with one's eyes' seems to say "Look at it, but don't think about it too much", or to say "see it as it is, rather than inferring too much".

Bigly. That guy has the vocabulary of a desk lamp.
 

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