Does ostensibly make sense in this sentence?

An ostensibly perfect world destroys itself

What I'm trying to convey is

A so-called perfect world destroyed itself

But so-called is not very academic.

Thanks in advance!

  • 2
    ostensibly - "As appears or is stated to be true, though not necessarily so; apparently." If that is the meaning you're want to imply by using that word, then yes, it works. A good way to find alternatives to words is by looking at synonyms in a thesaurus. – Gwendolyn Dec 12 '18 at 18:55
  • Google Scholar returns "about 5,670,000 results" for me for so-called, so I don't know the basis for your considering it "not very academic." – choster Dec 13 '18 at 4:30
  • 1
    @choster "so-called" implies that someone is being deceitful. "ostensibly" is more neutral. All of these word-choice questions require loads of context. – Spencer Dec 13 '18 at 16:56

Ostensibly does make sense here, but its meaning, although close to that of so-called, is not quite the same. As can be seen from Gwendolyn's comment, ostensibly is largely synonymous with apparently; the first sentence thus implies that the world appeared perfect, but it does not imply that anybody ever called it perfect. On the other hand, so-called in the second sentence makes it imply that people in fact used the word perfect to characterize the world, but it does not imply that they actually regarded is as perfect (they could have been using the word insincerely).

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.