Teachers' blog


【Implausible, Incredible, Inconceivable】

(Contributed by Ben)
Last time, I told you about the words impossible, impractical and unfeasible (and their opposites). This time I have three more pairs of words in similar styles.
4. PLAUSIBLE and IMPLAUSIBLE (pronounced ‘PLOR-zib-uhl’ and ‘im-PLORZ-ib-ul’).
If a piece of information is plausible, it seems to be likely or valid, and you can believe it. If your friend says it’s raining, that’s plausible. If your friend says she has been contacted by aliens from outer space, it’s implausible (but not completely unbelievable! Unbelievable is a bit stronger). If someone gives you an excuse you don’t entirely believe, you could say ‘it strains plausibility’, because you can only just believe it.
* She gave me a pretty plausible explanation.
* I find it implausible that you don’t know who the President is.
* I don’t know if it’s right, but it’s certainly very plausible.
These days, ‘incredible’ is often used to mean ‘wonderful’ or ‘amazing’ (as in ‘The Incredible Hulk’), but it has another, very different meaning.
‘Credible’ and ‘incredible’ are very similar to ‘plausible’ and ‘implausible’. If a news report is credible, you can believe it. If it’s incredible, you can’t believe it (or, to use an old word, ‘you can’t credit it’).
There is a slight difference between ‘credible’ and ‘plausible’. I would describe some news as plausible, but I would describe the news, and the person who said it, as credible.
* Wikipedia tries to draw its facts from credible sources.
* The information you gave me last time wasn’t very credible.
* Have any credible newspapers reported this, or is it just a rumour?
(pronounced ‘kon-SEEV-uh-buhl’ and ‘IN-kon-SEEV-uh-bul’)
These are fairly uncommon words, but I enjoy them. ‘Conceivable’ means it’s possible to imagine something. If you paint a painting using every conceivable shape and colour, it will contain every shape and colour that it’s possible to imagine. It would be VERY colourful!
If something is ‘inconceivable’ it means it’s so impossible and unbelievable that you can’t even imagine it. These are strong words, and they’re normally used as exaggerations. It can be quite exciting (though not very polite) to shout ‘Inconceivable!’ when someone tells you a very unlikely worry or plan.
* You think you could be the new manager? That’s inconceivable!
* I’ve tried every conceivable way of fixing this problem!
* I can’t conceive of any way that this plan could go wrong. (People often ‘conceive OF’ ideas.)
* I find it inconceivable that we’ve been talking for ten hours, without solving any of our problems!

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