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Just how exhausting is a study?

I recently posted about an exhaustive study of twitter users and it reminded me of another pair of words that can be misused.

exhaustive: covered all angles and possibilities
The SES conducted an exhaustive search of the area but found no traces of the girl.

exhausting: to use or consume entirely, to drain or tire
The two day Problogger event was exhausting so I slept in the next day.

I don’t think exhaustive is used very often now; you are more likely to read about something being comprehensive or detailed. Of course, it has a slightly different meaning to comprehensive which means covering a wide range – it can include most or all aspects.

4 Responses to Just how exhausting is a study?

  • GaryG says:

    Lol… Thanks for bringing this up. A few colleagues and I were discussing the recent misuse, and boycotting of certain words in advertising. Unless it is for a blatant purpose, it seems like people/companies nowadays are reluctant to use words which would suggest that they are exaggerating their claims. I’m not sure if they’re wanting to solidify their image, or if they’re simply afraid of lawsuits, but this new phenomenon is a fairly recent one. My guess is that the word “exhaustive” smacks of personification, and that is why people are cautious about using it.

    • tashword says:

      Generally, I like marketers avoiding exaggerations because hype and false claims really annoy me 🙂 I prefer the simple truth and it’s nice to think marketing will start respecting that!

      On the other hand, we have a great range of words in English and I think it would be sad to lose a lot of words because they are ‘too hard’ or ‘too risky’ to use. Simple and easy to understand is good; dumbing everything down is not so good in my view.

  • vida_llevares says:

    Thank you for clarifying the distinction between the two words. These words are really often mistaken to be synonymous in meaning and in usage.

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