Whole or entire

English grammar and usage issues

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Whole or entire

Unread postby Rina » 02 Jun 2008, 08:12

Hi
When do I use whole and whe entire?
Has ayone an explanation? What are the rules?
Thanks
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Re: Whole or entire

Unread postby matthau » 12 Jun 2008, 13:46

I wouldn't dare give any rules. These words are very close synonyms. It would be a hair's split process to distinguish between them.
However, 'whole' can be used as a noun-pronoun and then it is followed by 'of'.
e.g. The whole of the morning.
'Entire' can't replace it in this sentence. To use it you'll have to remove 'of' and use the word as an adjective.
The entire morning.
As for semantic differences, it's a topic for serious research, I guess. I'd be interested myself to hear somebody say something on the subject.
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s far as our research has been abvle to ascertain, whole

Unread postby systematic » 18 Jun 2008, 16:36

matthau wrote:As for semantic differences, it's a topic for serious research, I guess. I'd be interested myself to hear somebody say something on the subject.


As far as our research has been able to ascertain, the adjectives whole and entire are semantically perfect synonyms. There are no rules, but collocation will lead the one to be preferred over the other.
Thus, I"ve been waiting for you the whole day and I"ve been waiting for you the entire day are equally usable, whereas when used with the word time it is less usual to use entire, and whole is usually preferred:

I lectured for three hours this morning and you slept the whole time
would be preferable to
I lectured for three hours this morning and you slept the entire time
I offer any information or advice 'as is' and hope that it has been of help. I am not an admin of this board, and my postings do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the board management.
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Re: Whole or entire

Unread postby Krisha » 30 Nov 2008, 08:36

Differences, in meaning, I can't think of any big differences except "entire" seems to portray the "vastness" of something, it would usually be a very big thing you would talk about.

With "whole" it has more of a meaning of "including everything"
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Re: Whole or entire

Unread postby johntoh » 18 Dec 2009, 04:52

whole and entire are same thing. look at the dictionary

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/on+the+whole
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Re: Whole or entire

Unread postby Peter Easton » 18 Dec 2009, 17:53

Firstly, entire is a French (Latin) based word whereas whole is Germanic (cf. hole). Therefore entire has a more formal, weighty and intellectual feel to it stylistically. Whole has a more natural, grounded, common connotation. There is a strong tendency among many English speakers to avoid the use of Latin-derived words when an Anglo-Saxon one is available. It makes your language more direct, clear and less lofty.

'I waited the entire day.' – sounds overly formal
'I waited the whole day.' – sounds perfectly normal

'The entire planet is in danger from climate change.' – dramatic
'The whole planet is in danger from climate change.' – not as serious

Many concepts in English have this split. See the difference between these synonyms:

stone – rock
stomach – belly
purchase – buy
observe – watch
assist – help
primary – first
liberty – freedom

Also, ‘all’ ‘all the’ and ‘all of the’ can often be substituted for whole and entire but can sound a bit clumsy with certain nouns and this is where learners slip up.
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