true, real, correct

ahmedimamattia posted:

I am really confused about how to use "true", "real", "correct" or "right". 

Hello, Ahmed Imam Attia: We'd be happy to discuss uses of those words with you. However, we need to know which uses confuse you. Please give examples sentences in which you are not sure whether you are using them correctly. In general, it is best to include one or more examples when asking grammar questions. Thank you.

- real or true news/ real or true friends

- What proof do they have that this is real - true?

- I’ve heard that the ancient Egyptians had illnesses that were similar to ours today. Is that correct / true?

- And is it true / right that they did not eat much meat?

- Rudolf Elephberg is the true real King of Ruritania. (The Prisoner of Zenda)

Thank you

Hello, Ahmed (by the way, sorry for not having realized your name contained spaces last time I wrote to you)

Your question is difficult. Synonyms share some concepts but are not identical, so there is always some nuance that is present in some word but absent in others. I'll make a try.

- real or true news/ real or true friends

"real" can be used as a mere intensifier, as in "real friends." "true" sounds to me more like "faithful" or "loyal" in the phrase "true friends."

If you say some news is real or true, you mean it's not fake or false, so in this case they are close synonyms.

- I’ve heard that the ancient Egyptians had illnesses that were similar to ours today. Is that correct / true?

"correct" is the opposite of "wrong," while "true" is the opposite of "false." In this case, both words are quite similar for practical purposes.

- What proof do they have that this is real - true?

"reality" is opposed to "fantasy," while "truth" is opposed to "lie." Something can be real and not be true, I guess.

- And is it true / right that they did not eat much meat?

This is the sentence where I find the greatest difference in meaning. With "right," the question is not asking about the truth but about the convenience of their not including much meat in their diet (similar to: Was it good for them not to eat much meat?)

Hello, Ahmed, David and Gustavo, I'd like to share some information I've read in 'Right Word Wrong Word' by Lewis Alexander:

Real (NOT true): actually existing, not imaginary

- Are ghosts real?

True: (= not false, not made up)

- She told me a true story.

Correct/Right: (= without mistakes)

- Is this the right/correct way to address an envelope?

Correct (NOT right): refers to consideration for others or moral behaviour.

- I don't think it's right to worry my friends with my problems.

Hope that would help. 

 

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