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Hard? Difficult? Scared? Frightened?

So la_directora and drelmo were having a discussion about word usage that made me notice I have some biases about “correct” language.

Given a choice between “This task is hard” and “This task is difficult”, I’d choose the latter.

Given a choice between “He didn’t do it because he was scared” and “He didn’t do it because he was frightened”, I’d choose the latter.

There’s several other similar examples that I’ve noticed recently though they’re not coming to mind right away.

Why do I have these biases?  As drelmo points out, it’s probably not justified by the definitions of the words themselves.  And I don’t generally prefer the long word over the shorter one…

Maybe it’s a specificity thing?  “Hard” has a lot of meanings, difficult has only one.  “Scared” and “Frightened” are about equally precise, though.



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