Let's take failing a test as an example.

I would like to capture the class of people consisting of those who actually failed the test and who nearly failed the test.

Is there an elegant way of saying this? I would like to apply this to other situations as well.

Thanks for any hints in this matter.

  • You described it in your second sentence, so I'm not sure how else you'd like it to be said. What do you mean by other properties? – Jason Bassford Aug 31 '18 at 4:27
  • HI Jason: 1/ I would like to say this more succinctly. It is clunky right now. 2/ Other properties could be: being drunk, being in love, etc etc. I would like to capture elegantly having the property or nearly having the property. – max_zorn Aug 31 '18 at 5:06
  • The Borderline case. – Kris Aug 31 '18 at 7:33
  • @kris That's good but would only apply to those who only just passed and those who only just failed. It would not apply to those who failed dismally. I wonder if the OP wants to include the definite fails, if not then you have the answer. – BoldBen Aug 31 '18 at 9:42
  • 1
    You say you are giving the 'test passing' scenario as an example. Are you literally looking for a phrase to describe that instance or are you trying to find some sort of formula which will also be applicable in other situations? For what it's worth, I would define them by that which they have in common even though that is a negative attribute,, which is that they are those who 'did not achieve a passing grade of over [whatever you deen to be more than 'almost failing']'. – Spagirl Aug 31 '18 at 14:33

Two potential elegant adverbs are,

virtually M-A

Meaning: nearly; almost.

Usage: "the disease destroyed virtually all the vineyards in Orange County"

well nigh M-W

Meaning: nearly; almost.

Usage: "a task that is well-nigh impossible."

  • Thanks for these two words. Unfortunately, they both imply "not quite" which is not what I want. I want something that is nearly and actually, in one elegant word. – max_zorn Sep 1 '18 at 2:20
  • You can use verge, precipice. If you like I can add it in the answer. – Ubi hatt Sep 1 '18 at 2:31
  • I think it has the same problem, unfortunately. Thanks though, ubi! – max_zorn Sep 1 '18 at 2:51
  • @max_zorn tightly, closely – Ubi hatt Sep 1 '18 at 4:39

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