Be my dictionary. What is the difference between earnest and sincere, solemn and serious?
Posted March 25, 2010on:
I once worked with people who hated other people ~ or so they said. I hated broccoli (I like it now) and I hated doing my tax return.
Sometimes I loathed someone. Or I disliked someone.
The nuances of emotional words are interesting. We have poor emotional vocabularies as a general rule.
The other day, I dipped into Kate Fox’ Watching the English: The Hidden Rules of English Behaviour.
The nuances of Englishness
Kate Fox suggests the English accept serious but not solemn and sincere but not earnest. I looked up the differences in my COBUILD dictionary that was built from a corpus of actual English usage (Collins Birmingham University International Language Database). It wasn’t very enlightening.
Serious not solemn; sincere not earnest
So I am on the trail to distinguish solemn from serious and earnest from sincere.