Do the usages" It would be a pity if.." and "it would be a travesty if.." mean the same?
Are the two interchangeable?

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    What does your dictionary say about the definition of those words? Please provide your research with your question. – Kristina Lopez Oct 28 '15 at 15:12
  • Hi Shishir, welcome to EL&U. We expect people here to include the research they have done so that it would save us the time and energy to separately look up for them. Please take a look at this : english.stackexchange.com/help and learn more about asking question. :) – Jony Agarwal Oct 28 '15 at 16:17
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    A pity is sad. A travesty offends sensibilities. – Hot Licks Oct 28 '15 at 18:32

Since both words can function along a common continuum of meaning, there can be situational occurrences where they are interchangeable, but as a general rule, they are meant to convey two different things, and most always will not have the same meaning.

"It's a pity that the 98 year old woman died of her illness." vs.

"It's a travesty that the 98 year old woman died of her illness."


"It's a pity that the child died of a medical error." vs.

"It's a travesty that the child died of a medical error."

None of these four sentences are interchangeable in meaning.

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    You've stated that your four sentences are different, but you haven't explained how they're different. – AndyT Oct 28 '15 at 16:59
  • The salient bit of learning to take away from my answer is that the words pity and travesty are "context laden." "it's a pity" alludes to lost opportunity, where "it's a travesty" alludes to an affront to the sensibilities. – dwoz Oct 28 '15 at 21:29
  • @dwoz I don't see the common continuum, more's the pity. – deadrat Oct 29 '15 at 1:12
  • @deadrat: if you don't see it, it must not exist? Perhaps you need to think about it a bit longer? – dwoz Oct 29 '15 at 2:13
  • @dwoz I was apparently wasting my time being polite. This has nothing to do with what I see, unless it's my ability to see when I read the definitions of words. So, no, I don't need to think about it any longer. Pity is measured on a scale of sorrow or regret; travesty, on a scale of misrepresentation and distortion. Words that are meant to convey distinct concepts may be said to be orthogonal, but they wouldn't share a "common continuum." Clear, now? – deadrat Oct 29 '15 at 3:33

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