I'm confused beetween two words when i tried to conplete this sentence :
Sales of the TX 20 digital camera recently .... 10.000 in total
The key gives A , but i don't know why please help me , thanks

  • Surpass has a positive connotation, kind of an achievement most of the time, while exceed is essentially neutral and can take positive or negative connotations depending on context. – Kris May 12 '14 at 14:31
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    It's a silly test, and anyone who claims surpassed is somehow the "correct" answer is an idiot. In fact there's probably a stronger case for saying the answer should be exceeded if it has to be one of those two, but if you're just learning English you should forget both of them and go with the simpler passed. – FumbleFingers May 12 '14 at 14:31
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    In the given context, surpassed is obviously incorrect, exceeded it should be. The key must be a typo, I am sure. Do not use surpass with respect to absolute values, only to compare with another parameter: Sales of the TX 20 digital camera surpassed those of ZZ30. – Kris May 12 '14 at 14:33
  • @Kris: I don't know about you, but idiomatically I don't think surpass works at all well in relation to scalar values. It's normally only used of people, or "things" which deliver "performances" that can be compared to others in order to decide which is "best". – FumbleFingers May 12 '14 at 14:36
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    @FumbleFingers I always enjoy your subtle and nuanced opinions on grammarians and textbook writers who, in your opinion, tend to postulate less-than-accurate views in guise of holy writ in teaching :) – oerkelens May 12 '14 at 14:39

From: http://dictionary.cambridge.org

Surpass : To do or be better than : His time for the 100 meters surpassed the previous world record by one hundredth of a second. The book's success has surpassed everyone's expectations. The director has really surpassed himself (= done better than he has done before) with this new film

Exceed : To be greater than a number or amount, or to go beyond a permitted limit: He was exceeding the speed limit by 15 miles an hour.

this is What I understand; when you say surpass, you compare one thing that has gone beyond another thing which has previously known as a record or expectation from its ability , and exceed means going beyond a permitted limit or quantity .


I'd say "surpassed the 10,000 mark"

  • Why? We're looking for answers with more detail. At present this expresses your opinion; we are looking for responses that definitively answer the question. – andy256 Jan 2 '15 at 23:19

Exceed is always a surpassed or + set amount or number and surpass is both negative, good or bad, + or - Companies often PR release that they have exceeded a competitor's sales, not that they have surpassed a competitor's sales.

Surpassed is a target that is both + or - number and quantity

Exceeded is a + number and quantity

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    Please give an example where surpass can be used negatively and exceed cannot. It's very difficult to understand what you are trying to say. Google finds 10 hits for exceeded in smallness and 20 for surpassed in smallness, which doesn't strike me as that significant. – Peter Shor May 12 '14 at 17:12
  • @Peter: "Difficult" might be a bit of an understatement there! I'm completely at a loss - probably mainly because I can't actually articulate the difference myself. Initially I thought Kris's Euro surpassing the dollar was a telling example of usage differences, but on reflection I think that's a slightly "aberrant" usage where the word of choice should really be overtake. – FumbleFingers May 12 '14 at 18:04

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