Given this question:

Dude the rock band was awesome.

Which one of sound or noise is correct here?

  1. Yes, I know — I was able to hear the concert’s noise from my balcony.
  2. Yes, I know — I was able to hear the concert’s sound from my balcony.
  • 5
    This depends solely on the listener's perception of the music. – Barrie England Dec 15 '12 at 17:38
  • 3
    Don't bother categorizing it. Just say able to hear the concert from my balcony. That doesn't mean one could listen to the concert from there, but rather that one could hear that it was going on, whether one appreciated the music or not. – John Lawler Dec 15 '12 at 17:39

It's not a question of which is correct usage, it’s more a question of what meaning you intend to imply by the choice of those two words.

To use the word sound you’re implying something audible.

To use the worse noise you’re implying something loud and not harmonious.

  • ... wish your audience to infer from your choice ... – Edwin Ashworth Dec 15 '12 at 17:44
  • @EdwinAshworth Please feel free to edit my answer if it irks you so much. – spiceyokooko Dec 15 '12 at 17:46
  • @spiceyokooko FTFY. – Andrew Leach Dec 15 '12 at 17:53
  • @AndrewLeach Ta very much! – spiceyokooko Dec 15 '12 at 17:54
  • 1
    @spiceyokooko: I'm wondering how you infer irritation on my part? I merely pointed out where a correction was necessary - isn't that partly what this website is about? The understanding of and correct use of English? – Edwin Ashworth Dec 15 '12 at 20:10

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