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Question:

"One of the big reasons behind workers' lack of sleep is the work itself"

What, if any changes should be made to this sentence in the article? (All changes are replacements for "big reasons behind".)

A: NO CHANGE

B: main things leading up to

C: huge things about

D: primary causes of

I answered A because it seemed to make sense and the rest of the article didn't seem that formal.

The real answer is D with the reasoning being that "choices A and C are incorrect because both rely on colloquial language, specifically "big" and "huge," which strays from the formal tone of the article."

Are the words "big and "huge" colloquial?

closed as primarily opinion-based by curiousdannii, NVZ, BladorthinTheGrey, tchrist Dec 23 '16 at 11:45

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    What caveats have you found in dictionaries flagging register? / I'd judge the real issue here to be that 'primary cause' is a collocation whereas 'big reason' isn't. Google Ngrams add weight to this argument. – Edwin Ashworth Oct 14 '16 at 21:29
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    I don't think the words themselves are colloquial. However, a reason cannot be big or huge. – michael.hor257k Oct 14 '16 at 21:33
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    @michael.hor257k What? One of the biggest reasons I'm voting for Candidate Dee is Candidate Dum is a blathering idiot. I'm sure we can find countless examples of "big/biggest reason" used unselfconsciously by native speakers in an endless variety of contexts, formal and informal. "Big" has been used metaphorically to mean "most important" for centuries. – Dan Bron Oct 14 '16 at 22:05
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    @michael.hor257k I don't think such questions admit the idea of "proof", honestly. I think the best we can do is search corpora for instances of people using the construction in formal contexts, particularly writing. Ultimately, it's usage, on the ground, that establishes register. – Dan Bron Oct 14 '16 at 22:38
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    I would say "One of the main reasons..." – Kate Bunting Oct 15 '16 at 12:48