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ESL forum > Ask for help > Please help me     

Please help me



le ngoc qui
Vietnam

Please help me
 
Hi everyone,
I don ´t know when to write "big surprise" or "great surprise". Please help me with this. 
Thanks in advance.
Qui

25 Aug 2012      



David Lisgo
Japan

"I had a big surprise." As in size.
"I had a great surprise." As in something wonderful.
I ´m sure you will soon get much better answers.

25 Aug 2012     



le ngoc qui
Vietnam

Hi David,
Thanks for your help. But I think this is an unsatisfactory answer. Anyway, I ´m grateful to you.
Qui

25 Aug 2012     



ELOJOLIE274
France

I agree with David :)

25 Aug 2012     



foose1
United States

I always use big surprise in the following ways:
After I got to work, I found out that I was to receive a raise next month.  It was a big surprise to me as I thought I wasn ´t doing that great of a job.    I found out that a big surprise was in store for me on the last work day of the week.     Sometimes I may use it for size but in a funny way that may be mean if the person heard it.     I rarely use "a great surpise" or hear someone in America saying "a great surprise."
 
John

25 Aug 2012     



ldthemagicman
United Kingdom

Dear Qui,

Here is what my Collocation Dictionary says:

 

Oxford Collocations Dictionary for Students of English, 2nd edition

surprise noun

1 feeling of surprise

adjective

great , total , utter

mild , slight , some

initial

After the initial ~ I got to like the place.

mock

His eyebrows rose in mock ~.

genuine , real

verb + surprise

express , register , show

feign

He feigned ~ when I went up and said hello.

hide

She was quick to hide her ~.

cause

The president ´s remarks caused ~ and embarrassment.

2 sth that you did not expect

adjective

big , complete , genuine , great , huge , major , real , total

unexpected

lovely ( esp. BrE ) , nice , pleasant , wonderful

nasty , unpleasant , unwelcome

little

I have a little ~ for you!

phrases

a bit of a ~ , quite a ~

hold few, many, no, etc. ~s

She feels that the future holds few ~s.

© Oxford University Press, 2009

 
LES

25 Aug 2012     



yanogator
United States

I think "great" in general is a more British word, when referring to size. In the US, we use it mostly to mean "very good, wonderful".
 
Bruce

25 Aug 2012     



le ngoc qui
Vietnam

Hi everybody,
Thanks for helping me a lot. 

25 Aug 2012     



MarionG
Netherlands

expanding on David...
I would use ´big ´ to indicate the measure of the surprise. If it was very surprising, very unexpected (not necessarily related to the ´content ´ of the surprise)
I would use ´great ´ only when the surprise is a very good one, a very positive one, meaning I would use ´great ´ for the content of the surprise, not related to how unexpected it was.
In a simplified example: If my entire family forgot my birthday (even though I ´ve been hinting about it for over a week) I might say it was a big surprise to me that nobody even congratulated me, since I had expected they would.
If I wake up on the morning of my birthday and find the house clean and organized, a delicious breakfast on the table, and a sweet card from my kids, I would say that it was a ´great surprise ´
(It wouldn ´t be a big surprise since i had been hinting to them they ´d better not forget my birthday, I had expected some kind of surprise, I am simply saying that the surprise they prepared was very much to my liking)
 
Does this make any sense to you?

26 Aug 2012