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tedibear's avatar

Fluther grammarians, I need your help. Which sentence is better?

Asked by tedibear (16391 points ) February 3rd, 2014

I’m trying to make some changes in a document and decide which wording is correct. In the scenario, someone has taken an online course, failed the test and needs to take the course and test again.

My wording: “Review the course and re-take the exam.”

The wording of someone-who-shall-remain-nameless: “Review the course again and re-take the exam.”

Since the person needs to review the course, isn’t the word “again” redundant?

Also, is “re-take” correct or should it be “retake”?

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13 Answers

gailcalled's avatar

“Review the course and retake the exam.”

whitenoise's avatar

It depends on the meaning of the word review, one reads.

You intended (webster):
7b (1) : renewed study of material previously studied (2) : an exercise facilitating such study

In this case ‘again’ is redundant and should be left out.

Your nameless friend probably read: (webster)
: an act of carefully looking at or examining the quality or condition of something or someone : examination or inspection

In this case, again is appropriate. This interpretation of the maning of ‘review’ is less fitting your context, though, so I would choose to let it out.

Aster's avatar

“Review the course and retake the exam.”

stanleybmanly's avatar

All of the advice so far given is correct. Nameless’ “again” is redundant.

bea2345's avatar

“Again” is redundant. Even if that word is removed, the sentence lacks precision. “Review” can mean “to analyse”, “to reassess”, “to re-evaluate”. It can also mean “to revise”, “to recapitulate”. I think the two latter terms are closer to what is intended. “Retake” is correct but poor styling. Say instead,
“Revise the course and take the examination again.”

Retake 1436, “to take back,” from re- “back, again” + take (v.). Meaning “to recapture” is recorded from 1645; sense of “to record a second time” is attested from 1962.

gailcalled's avatar

“Revise” is a term used by the Brits and would sound alien to American readers. “Retake the exam” has the same meaning as “take the examination again” but is shorter. No American reader would find it confusing. I would never use “stylish” to describe English usage.

Dutchess_III's avatar

To me, when you say “review the course again,”’ it sounds like they’ve reviewed it over and over and over and still haven’t gotten it right. Kinda like the Broncos.

bea2345's avatar

@gailcalled – I am sure any reasonably literate person, young or old, American, British or West Indian, would understand my phrasing. I am also sure that the meaning of the sentence in its original form is also to be understood, but chiefly by the intended recipient. Out of context it can be misinterpreted. There are occasions when imprecision can lead to bad consequences. That is why there is such a thing as proper English.

tedibear's avatar

@bea2345 – You’re making the assumption that my readers will understand the phrase “revise” to have the meaning “review.” (As well as that they are “reasonably literate” based on your interpretation of that phrase.) I would hazard a guess that over 90% of them will not understand it. I understand it, but that’s because I’ve read enough books by Irish, Scotch and British authors to know the term.

To revise for an exam is not an expression common to Americans. We review, we study, we may even “pull an all-nighter,” but I’ve never heard an America use the term revise in that context. I have to write these instructions in terms that are familiar to my readers.

Dutchess_III's avatar

If I read “revise the course,” I would assume they had some way of altering the course. I would not assume they meant “review.”

HenryFussy's avatar

Sounds to me they need to STUDY the course and retake the exam!

bea2345's avatar

I checked Roget’s Thesaurus online. “Review” also means “to go over again”; which is what I know as “to revise.” “Revision” is the noun, meaning, to me, studying anew the material in order to make sure one has understood its content. Clearly American English has departed even further from the British based, standard English I once knew. So has Trinidadian English. This is an observation (or critique); not a criticism.

BTW, it is interesting how the local newspapers use the word “critical”, for example. The man who was run over by a police officer on the Beetham Highway is now in hospital and is said to be critical. In similar circumstances, I, too, would be very critical.

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

Yours is better. “Review again” is redundant.

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