It is ______________ to find that, when a young male and female are near a mound, she's really focusing on termite fishing and he's spinning round in circles.

I must put only one word in the gap. According to the answer key, it is typical. However, why doesn't frequent work?

  • 1
    'It frequently happens that...' would work, but 'It is frequent to find that...' doesn't. Mar 21, 2019 at 21:48
  • You could say either one. "Frequent", however, would apply if this only happened 100 times in ten million samples within a short period of time. "Typical", on the other hand, implies that the likelihood is near if not better than 50%.
    – Hot Licks
    Mar 21, 2019 at 21:51
  • 1
    @HotLicks You can't say "It is frequent to find that...", and even "It is typical to find that..." is a little odd. However, "It is customary to find that..." would work. We just need someone to say why.
    – Andrew Leach
    Mar 21, 2019 at 21:59
  • @AndrewLeach - Because English!
    – Hot Licks
    Mar 21, 2019 at 22:03
  • (Yeah, I suppose I'd say "is frequently found that". But my point is that there is a semantic difference between the two words.)
    – Hot Licks
    Mar 21, 2019 at 22:04

1 Answer 1


Frequent has to do with timing or spacing.
Typical has to do with the nature of something or an essential characteristic.
Based on the answer key the meaning sought by the test giver relates to a characteristic of the male or female rather than how often they do something.

1 Happening or occurring at short intervals:
to make frequent trips to Tokyo.
2 Constant, habitual, or regular:
a frequent guest.
3 Located at short distances apart: frequent towns along the shore. https://www.dictionary.com/browse/frequent?s=t

1 Of the nature of or serving as a type or representative specimen.
2 Conforming to a particular type.
3 Biology . exemplifying most nearly the essential characteristics of a higher group in natural history, and forming the type: the typical genus of a family.
4 Characteristic or distinctive:
He has the mannerisms typical of his class.
5 Pertaining to, of the nature of, or serving as a type or emblem; symbolic. https://www.dictionary.com/browse/typical

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