Early in the twentith century, Qichao in his works such as On the New Citizen tried to frame an ethics for the new society.

"Frame" vs "construct": Which is better when the job is some doctrine and theory?

  • 2
    Not much to choose between them. To me frame is an early stage in the process of construction.
    – Colin Fine
    Sep 15, 2013 at 12:02
  • First it would be necessary to understand his intent, which his not clear in your example. It's not up to us to research Qichao and his writings. You should provide more information in your question, and demonstrate that you made an effort to resolve it yourself. I'll downvote until more (meaningful) context is provided. Sep 15, 2013 at 16:00

2 Answers 2


Frame, because in this sense, it means to outline, or create an outline as a basis for a theory, and it has to do with thought rather than anything physical. Once the theory is finished, then you could say it's been 'constructed'.


Depends on what the "job" is for the doctrine or theory.

In the example given, frame is definitely better than construct. Qichao attempts to provide core ideas that could serve as a framework or scaffold for further building. There is a sense of foundations and guiding principles with frame that would not come through as readily with construct.

Construct would be the better choice when talking about the details or finer points of doctrine or theory.

I agree with @Colin Fine that frame is an early stage, but disagree with his opinion that the choice doesn't matter much. Frame is much more specific and vivid for the sentence given, dealing with "ethics" for a "new" society. Someone might think it his calling to frame an ethics for a new society and yet have little passion for constructing upon the frame. Another might care little about establishing a framework but devote her life to realizing the practical outworkings based on that frame.

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