I thought the marking was a bit odd as I have underlined the words I got wrong and one was a verb avertir I used in lieu of prèvenir?
Freeform Writing Exercise A1
I have just checked and both 'avertir' and 'prévenir' are given as options for 'to warn' in the exercise. Again it will depend on the context, but 'avertir' is more formal than 'prévenir'.
The Police will give you an 'avertissement', a caution, a warning so it carries more weight.
You might also hear about -
un avertissement de tempête = a storm warning
I can understand your unease because on the face of it they are synonymous, but there is a nuance -- perhaps a native speaker will comment further.
Avertir takes the sense of "mettre en garde" in the sense of an upcoming possible undesirable event.
Prévenir takes the sense of "warning" but somewhat softer "to tell" someone about an upcoming event.
In the text that you are querying, the speaker is concerned to let Jean-Pierre know that the speaker has to leave at noon and is asking for Sandra's help to advise Jean-Pierre of this situation. Avertir is this context would suggest news more bad than intended when the need is to simply "tell" rather than "warn".
Looking at the relative similarity: Between Prévenir to Avertir -- strong.
But between Avertir to Prévenir -- less strong.
Hope that this helps -- an native speaker's input would be helpful IMHO.
Yes they are similar words, and you could possibly use either in this case. The marking system however is only as harsh as you want it to be, as it is a self-scoring exercise! There are often multiple ways to skin a cat, and some words can have dozens of synonyms for example so it is usually only the most common of the possible responses that are listed. Not necessarily exhaustive. And you can still give yourself top marks if you have found another way to say something that you feel is equally correct (maybe after verifying it on a translator if you are not sure). No-one will check on you or accuse you of cheating.
If ‘Partir’ is always intransitive and ‘Quitter’ is always transitive, how come both ‘partir/quitter à midi’ work here? Thanks to anyone who can clear up my confusion on this.
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