Anonymous asked in Education & ReferenceWords & Wordplay · 10 months ago

What does my tutor in Hong Kong mean?

He said I used a word wrong. I said but the word has that meaning in the dictionary. Then he says yes but meaning and context are separate. What does he mean by separate?

11 Answers

  • 10 months ago
    Favorite Answer

    English has a lot of words that mean roughly the same thing, since we've been borrowing words from other languages for centuries. But the words may be used in specific expressions or may have slightly different connotations. For example, "chubby" and "fat" mean about the same thing, but "chubby' is usually an affectionate, more positive term, while "fat" is an insult.

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  • d00ney
    Lv 5
    10 months ago

    Strictly it is about grammar and usage. The rule of grammar is that a sentence must make complete sense. However, usage involves, implied statements, idiomatic expressions, and context.

    Grammar then is like the skeleton and usage is like the flesh.

    'It's a cravat, child, and a beautiful one, as you say. It's a present from the White King and Queen. There now!'

    'Is it really?' said Alice, quite pleased to find that she had chosen a good subject after all.

    'They gave it me,' Humpty Dumpty continued thoughtfully as he crossed one knee over the other and clasped his hands round it, 'they gave it me — for an un-birthday present.'

    'I beg your pardon?' Alice said with a puzzled air.

    'I'm not offended,' said Humpty Dumpty.

    'I mean, what is an un-birthday present?'

    'A present given when it isn't your birthday, of course.'

    Alice considered a little. 'I like birthday presents best,' she said at last.

    'You don't know what you're talking about!' cried Humpty Dumpty. 'How many days are there in a year?'

    'Three hundred and sixty-five,' said Alice.

    'And how many birthdays have you?'


    'And if you take one from three hundred and sixty-five what remains?'

    'Three hundred and sixty-four, of course.'

    Humpty Dumpty looked doubtful. 'I'd rather see that done on paper,' he said.

    Alice couldn't help smiling as she took out her memorandum book, and worked the sum for him:






    Humpty Dumpty took the book and looked at it carefully. 'That seems to be done right —' he began.

    'You're holding it upside down!' Alice interrupted.

    'To be sure I was!' Humpty Dumpty said gaily as she turned it round for him. 'I thought it looked a little queer. As I was saying, that seems to be done right — though I haven't time to look it over thoroughly just now — and that shows that there are three hundred and sixty-four days when you might get un-birthday presents —'

    'Certainly,' said Alice.

    'And only one for birthday presents, you know. There's glory for you!'

    'I don't know what you mean by "glory",' Alice said.

    Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. 'Of course you don't — till I tell you. I meant "there's a nice knock-down argument for you!"'

    'But "glory" doesn't mean "a nice knock-down argument",' Alice objected.

    'When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.'

    'The question is,' said Alice, 'whether you can make words mean so many different things.'

    'The question is,' said Humpty Dumpty, 'which is to be master — that's all.'

    (Alice Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll)

    Unfortunately that is not quite right, and the word you choose means what the reader thinks it means. This is because the meaning of a word is defined by its context. That is the whole point, there is an agreement as to what a word means, as say given in the dictionary, but the writer has to put the word in the correct context to convey with greater precision what he wants to say.

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  • 10 months ago

    The dictionary will tell you the meaning of the word, but it does not necessarily tell you how to use the word in a sentence. This means that the word must be used in a specific way in order for it to be grammatically correct. Moreover, some words you find in the dictionary will give you the meaning, but the word may not be used in common spoken language without it seeming odd.

    It would be easier to explain if you had told us the word and the sentence that you used it in. But I'll try to give you an example using a different word.

    For example, the word "fabricate" means to make something up. The context here is that the word is usually used when a person makes something up in order to be deceitful or dishonest.

    So the correct use of the word in the right context would be "she fabricated the story in order to avoid submitting her homework". This means she made up a fake story (she lied) because she didn't want to do her homework.

    On the other hand, an incorrect use of the word due to wrong context would be "she fabricated a cake for the party." This is because while she did "make up the cake" (technically the meaning of the word fabricated), it was not used in the context of dishonesty, hence making the use of the word incorrect. So, here, the meaning and the context are separate.

    I hope this example helped you understand, but once again it would be easier to explain had you mentioned the exact word and context you are asking about.

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  • 10 months ago

    If you have a tutor who is requiring you to use a word a correctly, you really should be getting clarification from the tutor, not from anyone here. I don't know what the word is, or how you used it, so I can't be very helpful to you. My guess is that you found a definition for the word in the dictionary, but you used the word in the wrong context. This means that the dictionary definition you found did not make sense when you used it in a certain context. .

    • 9 months agoReport

      If I can get clarification I wouldn’t ask here

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  • RP
    Lv 7
    10 months ago

    Meaning relates to the definition of the word whereas context refers to the setting in which the word appears. Unless the meaning and context are compatible, there will be a problem in understanding.

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  • 10 months ago

    It would have been helpful if you told us what word he thought you used incorrectly. Then we could explain why

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  • 10 months ago

    You really ought to tell us what the words in question were. A word may be perfectly correct in one context but not in another, even if it seems it ought to mean the same.

    PS I'm not sure why you mentioned Hong Kong. It makes no difference where your tutor is, or where you are: a word wrongly used in Hong Kong is wrongly used in Peru too.

  • Anonymous
    10 months ago

    It means they’re equal to each other but can be used separately, like coloreds and whites in the 60s

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  • 10 months ago

    he means different, you were correct but not your grammar probably

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  • 10 months ago

    It really depends on what exactly you said, but words can be the same but still have different meanings depending on the way you use them.

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