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usage of the word "caliber"

 
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hereinchina



Joined: 29 May 2009
Posts: 112

PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2011 2:42 am    Post subject: usage of the word "caliber" Reply with quote

Hello,
I'm confused about the usage of the word "caliber". According to the Macmillan online dictionary, "caliber" is a noun and means the following: "the level of someone's ability, intelligence etc, or the standard or quality of something, especially when it is high." I checked several online dictionaries for examples of usage of the word "caliber" and most of them showed it being used in the following way: (something or someone) of high caliber, i.e. "a school of high caliber" or "a man of high caliber". My question is can I use the word "caliber" in the following ways, or in other words, are the following sentences grammatically correct? Another question is must I use a "hyphen" when I say "high caliber" or "low caliber" in the following sentences? My last question is if "high caliber" or "low caliber" is an adjective or noun in the following sentences.
1. Ted is a high-caliber teacher. ( I googled the term "high caliber teacher" and it came up with a hyphen, I mean "high-caliber teacher". But I'm not sure if it is proper usage of the word, and if it is, does it need a hyphen)
2. Toyotas are high caliber cars.
3. Mike is a high caliber man.
4. I attended a low caliber high school.
5. I was a low caliber student.
6. Nokia has many high-caliber employees.
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Metamorfose



Joined: 21 Jul 2003
Posts: 345
Location: Brazil

PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2011 10:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Non native speaker opinion/thoughts.

About the hyphen: there is no set of rules related to the use of hyphen in compund words, this is very different from my native tongue where you gives you a list with rules and rules regarding hyphenisation. I don't remember where, but I do remember reading something about a preference of not using hyphen with unfrequent compounds, using hyphen with more frequent compunds and writing the compund together in common words. Can someone elaborate on this?

About the word "caliber", it seems quite formal*, doesn't it? Or restricted in usage. Anyway, the sentences are grammatically accurate, now we need to know if they sound appropriate.

Josť

* I know that "formal" is too open a term, but in wanting for a better one I'll stick with this.
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fluffyhamster



Joined: 26 Oct 2004
Posts: 3003
Location: UK > China > Japan > UK again

PostPosted: Thu Mar 24, 2011 3:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not sure that 'high-caliber' (and personally, I'd prefer all your examples to have a hyphen, HIC!) will ever be written 'highcaliber', Josť! (That is, isn't 'high' a bit too adjectivey to be forming [noun] compounds? Versus the greater adjective-or-noun indeterminacy of those compounds beginning with 'black', say). Anyway, there's a bit on compound formation generally (with regards to e-mail > email) in the comments here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/mind-your-language/2011/jan/24/mind-your-language-telegraph-style-guide

As for the "formality" or appropriateness or whatever of some of HIC's examples, the good thing with using '-caliber' in 6 is that it adds a bit more than the notion of "quality"; that is, I also get from the word '-caliber' a slight impression of "power", "capability", something like that. (Perhaps because caliber is something I mostly associate with gun barrels/bullet widths, for example .223in/5.56mm; .308in/7.62mm etc. That being said, there is a non-alchoholic beer called Kaliber sold in the UK Smile).

As for example 2 however, I think 'high-quality' would probably sound better, whilst 'good' would be good for 1.

Examples 3, 4 and 5 all sound a little strange (i.e. have slightly unusual/over-elaborate wording) to my ear.
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hereinchina



Joined: 29 May 2009
Posts: 112

PostPosted: Sat Mar 26, 2011 1:10 pm    Post subject: thanks for the help Reply with quote

Hello,
I want to thank both of you for your help.
Best wishes
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