Difference between surplus & plethora? Learner's definition of PLETHORA [singular] formal : a very large amount or number : an amount that is much greater than what is necessary A plethora of books have been written on the subject. a plethora of information http://www.learnersdictionary.com/definition/plethora Can I substitute 'surplus' for 'plethora' in this context? Or is there any difference or some other necessary condition?
May 20, 2014 2:23 AM
Answers · 2
plethora to me feels almost more poetic or figurative. Surplus feels more precise or quantitative. A factory might have a surplus of 5,000 hats, or a budget surplus of $2 million. But if you walk into someone's closet and see they have a large collection of hats, you could describe that as a plethora of hats! If I read the following 2 sentences: 1. "The library has a surplus of Dan Brown novels" 2. "The library has a plethora of Dan Brown novels" I would understand them as 1. The library has too many Dan Brown books, they need to get rid of some. A somewhat negative thing. 2. The library has a wide variety of Dan Brown books. A good thing, if you like Dan Brown books. I only suggest this as a native speaker, I'm no expert in the language!
May 20, 2014
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Language Skills
Chinese (Mandarin), English, Korean
Learning Language
Chinese (Mandarin), English