How do you explain the difference between fat & overweig

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How do you explain the difference between fat & overweig

Unread postby haspa » 11 Nov 2006, 23:32

Hi, I'm currently completing a correspondance course before starting my first TEFL job. One of the questions is "How would you explain the difference between fat and overweight to your students". I'm really stumped on this and can find very little information on it. Although I can think of circumstances where you could use one in a subject but not another but can't think of any solid rule to explain this. I would be grateful for any help you could give me.

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How do you explain the difference between fat & overweig

Unread postby Lucy » 13 Nov 2006, 12:04

Dear Haspa,

You are right to say that fat can be used as a noun or as an adjective. This is illustrated in the following sentences:

There’s a lot of fat on this meat. (Here, fat is a noun).

She’s got fat since she stopped exercising. (Here, fat is an adjective).

However, I think the object of the exercise is to highlight the attitude of the speaker. Fat and overweight can be used to describe the same person; the speaker shows his attitude through his / her choice of adjective. Fat would be considered pejorative whereas overweight is slightly more complimentary to the person. So, a doctor is more likely to tell somebody that they are overweight; (s)he probably wouldn’t tell the patient that (s)he is fat. If you want to be pejorative, you would probably say “she’s fat and ugly”; not “she’s overweight and ugly”.

I hope this will help you and good luck for the rest of your course.


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