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  1. MatrixGravity
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    MatrixGravity Senior Member

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    I don't understand how to properly use the word "Infidelity".

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by MatrixGravity, Jun 1, 2011.

    From what I understand, I guess its defined as 'unfaithful'. Anyway, How exactly would I use it in a sentence? Somebody asked me what I look for in a girl, and I'm trying to say somebody who won't engage in unfaithful acts. So if I were to use infeditely in place of that, "I don't want a girl who would commit infidelity." see that doesnt sound right...

    "She commited Infidelity on me." That doesn't sound right either. Sure I can just say 'unfaithful' but I really want to learn how to use this word so I am asking for some assistance. Thank you guys.
     
  2. StrangerWithNoName
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    StrangerWithNoName Longobard duke

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    I don't know how you use it but that's the neolatin term, therefore I assume it's more formal than unfaithfulness. Oh, infidelity is a substantive, while unfaithful is an adjective, am I correct? In this case I'll call the episode or the action "infidelity" while unfaithful should go with another word, like "unfaithful behaviour".
     
  3. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    You should try using the online version of the Merriam-Webster dictionary which will give you complete definitions as well as sentences to help you understand how to use these words.

    However, there is nothing wrong with just saying you're looking for a girl who will be faithful and really it seems like you're trying much too hard.
     
  4. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I was stunned to learn of my wife's infidelity.
     
  5. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    "I couldn't tolerate infidelity."
     
  6. StrangerWithNoName
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    StrangerWithNoName Longobard duke

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    Infidelity among the employees of the Department is becoming...a disturbing issue.
     
  7. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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  8. popsicledeath
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    popsicledeath Banned

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    The restored song tracks were high in fidelity.

    Serious suggestion: Start one thread, maybe even sticky it, that is titled "MatrixGravity Asks..." where he/she can put all new questions. It will not only help organize MatrixGravity's language education on the forums, but could become an entertaining sort of anti-advice column that could prove quite entertaining and informative, all while saving space on the forums!
     
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  9. funkybassmannick
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    funkybassmannick Contributing Member

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    At first, I didn't realize that was an example!

    As far as answering the question, both "unfaithfulness" and "infidelity" have a second connotation we're not addressing. Faithfulness to God. So, "The pagan was executed for infidelity." I agree with Stranger that it might sound strange because it seems more formal, and might seem more formal because of this second connotation, though who really knows other than linguistics.

    I definitely think it seems more formal. Like, if my hypothetical wife committed adultery, I'd chose one or two other words before I called her an "infidel." "Infidelity" seems really... disconnected from emotion. Not that you have to use those other words. I would suggest in your scenario saying, "I prefer partners who are faithful/would never commit adultery/would never cheat on me." These to me seem less formal. But you can still, of course, use "infidelity;" the worst that can happen is that they label you as a snobby writer.
     
  10. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    Do you have to answer this in question in a formally written manner? Like for one of those interview questions that seeks to determine what your values are and who you are as a person? If so, I'd go with something tight and succinct, like Digitig's suggestion of "I couldn't tolerate infidelity." (and then explain why in a manner that's also tight and succinct.)

    But to say that in a casual conversation when asked by a friend? No one talks like that. Just say "I couldn't be with someone who cheats on me." Matrix, acting like you have to have a superior vocab in social settings will not help you and will not make people think you're smart. Instead, you'll come across as a pretentious snob who is completely out of touch with social interaction. There was a guy like that in high school, who always threw around words like "iota" and "amalgamation" in out-of-place casual scenarios, and that's what everyone thought of him.
     
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  11. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    matrix...

    as you can see from the replies, there are many ways to use the word, but to do what you want, it's not a good choice and 'who'd be unfaithful' or 'who'd cheat on me' work best... don't try to force a square word into a round sentence hole!
     
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  12. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yes. Yes. Yes.

    Matrix, are you hearing us at all when we say that using an overblown vocabulary will _not_ reflect well on you? We're not saying, "Aww, poor thing, it's OK to use your regular vocabulary if it's all you've got." We're saying that it's actually _ better_ to use simple, clear words in speech and writing. Not just OK, but better.

    Would you wear a tuxedo to a beach barbecue where everyone else was wearing jeans and shorts and sundresses? Would you expect your girlfriend to wear a ballgown? If you did, would you expect people to admire you and think that you were "better" than everyone else there?

    And would you refuse to even go to the barbecue until you could afford a tuxedo to wear? Because that seems to be what you're doing - you seem to be refusing to write until your writing can be dressed in tuxedo words. But those words will not only _not_ make most writing better, they're quite likely to make it worse. You need to be comfortable with writing before you even consider occasionally putting on that tuxedo.

    Forget the tuxedo, put on some jeans and a clean T shirt, and _write_.

    ChickenFreak
     
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  13. MatrixGravity
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    MatrixGravity Senior Member

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    Sigh..I guess I can't argue with that. I just don't know what my motives are. I don't really know why I try so hard to become better.All I know is , at this moment I have the passion to learn and expand my writing, and I think I should take advantage of it now because years from now I'm probably not going to care anymore and give up learning but while I still have this 'passion' I want to make use of it.
     
  14. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    And I think that's great that you have passion and want to learn. But there's other aspects of being a good writer that are much more important than having a SAT-level vocabulary that you haul around with you.

    If you'd like your writing to be really powerful, here are some areas to study:

    -- Passive and active voice, and when to use each. Generally speaking, passive voice (using "is," "was," "to be," etc instead of other verbs) is for when you want to create a detached tone, like if your MC is lost or if there's a scene with two characters who used to be close who've drifted apart. Any other time, use active voice. Many people will tell you that passive is appropriate for academic/professional settings, but that's not true. Let's say you're writing a cover letter for a job, what sounds better: "I am a skilled writer and will be useful," or "I plan to bring my strong writing skills to the table to advance the mission of [company name here]"? It's important to have a dynamic style, but this isn't about vocab. It's about making your writing voice confident, assertive and straightforward, which can take practice if it doesn't come naturally.

    -- This goes hand-in-hand with the above point, but tightening your content helps a lot. For example, "I graduated from XYZ University in 2007. I have a Bachelor's degree in advertising. I have held two jobs during college to advance my education" could be condensed into "After balancing college and employment for three years to finance my own education, I graduated from XYZ University in 2007 with my degree in advertising." Likewise, don't use three words to describe something if you can sum it up in one word. If you're taking too many words, you're lacking that one word that's powerful enough. For example, "very sad" should be replaced with "tragic," because if there's a "very" before "sad" then it means the word "Sad" isn't strong enough to convey your meaning.

    But don't get confused here. I am NOT saying you need a four-syllable word. You don't.

    -- Show, not tell. This is a cliche saying among workshops, but it's true. If you've got a character who is annoying, or a place that's scary, convey the person's dialogue and the house's creepy noises in a way that makes the reader feel that way. If you have to spell something out, it means the writing doesn't convey the idea sufficiently on its own.

    I can go into more detail later, but these are some of the key things you should be focusing on instead of vocab.
     
  15. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Matrix, again, you don't seem to be listening. No one is telling you not to try to be better. No one is telling you not to try to improve/expand your writing.

    We are telling you that your _path_ to becoming better is not a productive path. Focusing on vocabulary is not, repeat, _not_ the primary way, or even a particularly important way, to become better and improve your writing.

    ChickenFreak
     
  16. Jimfoxx
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    Jimfoxx Member

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    I think it is actually more of unfaithfulness rather than just unfaithfull.
    Kind of like. "She was known for her infidelity."or" I don't want a woman who lives in infidelity"
    I hope that helps
     
  17. HorusEye
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    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

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    "Burn in Hell, infidels!" in a piece of dialogue uttered by a 13th century fanatic. This is probably the only situation in which I'd ever use that word.
     
  18. MatrixGravity
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    MatrixGravity Senior Member

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    Well then.. I should just continue reading alot then? I just want write more concisely and be able to utilize the best words in my sentences..
     
  19. MatrixGravity
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    MatrixGravity Senior Member

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    So in other words, if you write "I cannot tolerate infidelity', that means 'I can't stand being cheated on' basically?
     
  20. cruciFICTION
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    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

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    No.

    "I cannot tolerate infidelity" could apply to someone being unfaithful (not necessarily to you), or unfaithful to their god. If a Christian murders, they are an infidel (and a murderer) because God has told them not to murder. If an Atheist murders, though, they're just a murderer, because they're not being unfaithful to any deity (other than society).

    "I can't stand being cheated on" is different. It applies specifically to you and has only one connotation. It also sounds like cheating on YOU is bad, but doesn't say whether you care if someone ELSE is cheated on.


    What has been said to you in threads OTHER than this one as well as this one is that it is rare that two words mean exactly the same thing. Infidelity and unfaithfulness are not the same thing.

    Think of it this way: a dog is a kind of animal, but an animal is not a kind of dog.


    The best word is the one that comes to mind first since that is usually going to be the one you mean. It's good to have a large vocabulary, but only if you understand the meaning and use of each word. This is done by knowing the definition. You don't need to ask someone for that. Look it up in a dictionary and pay attention to the actual words, not just the general idea.
    If you say something is "nice", that's what you mean. You mean that it's nice. Things that can be called "spectacular" might be nice, but just because you said "nice", you didn't necessarily mean "spectacular".

    You need to understand definitions; you need to use words that fit in the context.
     
  21. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Keep reading, yes.

    And don't use "utilize". :) It's not a straightforward synonym of "use", so using it when all you mean is "use" is almost always incorrect. I realize that politicians and other people who want to sound pompous misuse the word constantly, but you don't want to sound pompous, right?

    I'm also not sure if you mean "concisely"--that would mean that you want to express yourself briefly and simply, which is what we're recommending, but so far it doesn't seem to be your goal. I think that the word that you want might be "eloquently", though I'm not sure.

    And that provides two examples of the dangers of using words that you haven't yet fully absorbed. Use your own vocabulary. As you read, you will find that new words are painlessly, effortlessly, making their way into your vocabulary. Don't force the process.

    ChickenFreak
     
  22. cruciFICTION
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    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

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    The fact of the matter is that "utilise" is a contrived, bull**** version of "use". It is a straightforward synonym of "use". It's used by people who want to sound complex when they're just going to end up sounding ridiculous.
     
  23. LaGs
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    LaGs Banned

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    If you think a certain word better articulates the way you feel, or the way you want to describe the situation, i say use it. But as long as a word like 'infidelity' doesn't stick out like a sore thumb from the rest of your prose. I think it's a difficult skill to be able to use words perhaps considered outside of the norm while not making it sound pretentious. I think maybe the way of doing this is again, fitting the word that is consistent with your overall writing style. It would be a mistake to use bog standard language most of the time and then stick in a fancy word here and there to make yourself sound smart.
     
  24. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    It's also true of phrases like, "The fact of the matter is..." :)
     
  25. cruciFICTION
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    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yes, I know. I'm attempting to cut phrases that begin with/contain the words "the fact", such as "the fact that", et cetera. It's hard sometimes, but it's not nearly so bad as something as redundant as "utilise".
     
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