`obsolete’ and `junk’

First, let’s deal with the pronunciation of `obsolete’. The first syllable rhymes with `sob’, `cob’ and `mob’. The second `o’ is like the `a’ in `china’, and the final `lete’ rhymes with `neat’, `beat’, and `meat’. The main stress is on the final syllable `lete’. When you say that something is `obsolete’, what you mean is that it has gone out of fashion; it is outdated. It is no longer required or no longer in use because something new and better has taken its place. For example, computers have made typewriters obsolete; the `tonga’, which was quite popular once upon a time, has become obsolete.

Example: We don’t have spare parts for your computer. The model has become obsolete.

`Junk’, unlike the word `obsolete’, is mostly used in informal contexts. When you say that something is `junk’, what you mean is that it is worthless. The object is fit to be thrown away. Something that is new, but is of no value, can also be called `junk’. `Obsolete’, on the other hand, does not carry this meaning. The word merely suggests that the equipment has become outdated — it could be an outdated piece of equipment that still works. A piece of junk, on the other hand, could be an outdated piece of equipment which may or may not work. Either way, you want to throw it away. Not everyone throws away an obsolete piece of equipment.

Example: You’ve had that scooter for over 20 years now. Get rid of the junk.

Source: ‘Know Your English’ ( The Hindu) -April 23, 2007

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s