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  #1 (permalink)  
Unread Jul 1st, 2008, 11:17 am
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Default demolition/destruction/devastation

Hi,
I'm reading my Upstream Proficiency Student's book and in the example below is required to underline only two words which complete the sentence:

The earthquake was so strong that it caused terrible
dereliction/devastation/demolition/destruction


So what is the problem? Apart from the first one, why all the rest can't be used: devastation, demolition, destruction? Don't they all have nearly the same meaning?

Thank you in advance
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Unread Jul 2nd, 2008, 05:55 am
Sue
 
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Default Re: demolition/destruction/devastation

Demolition and demolish collocate (go together with) specific nouns such as buildings, ideas etc, - for example : The demolition of the buildings on the site of the new airport is scheduled for Tuesday. / I demolished his argument in two seconds.. And being (usually) intentional it's not usually used in a negative sense, so again terrible and demolition don't collocate- although you could say The earthquake demolished the buildings but it's a statement of fact, not emotive. Also, here the writer seems to mean general destruction - trees etc as well as buildings. These once more don't collocate with demolish.

Destruction is possible - if you Google earthquake "terrible destruction", you'll find this from the Miami Museum of Science : Fires resulting from an earthquake can cause even more damage. All of this can cause terrible destruction, but the damage to lives and property would not be ...

The difference between the two is that destruction can be good, bad or neutral, whereas devastation is always very bad. So in this context it sounds better as it renders the idea of how disastrous the earthquake was. But destruction is not wrong.
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Unread Jul 2nd, 2008, 08:40 am
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Default Re: demolition/destruction/devastation

thank you very much, susan!
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