Number one for English language teachers

Your English: Collocations: discrepancy

Type: Article

Back to the rescue, Tim Bowen is here to correct any discrepancies between your understanding and the correct formation of collocations.

A discrepancy is defined as ‘a difference between things that should be the same’, as in ‘How do you explain the apparent discrepancy between the two sets of figures?’ A large or important discrepancy can be big, major, marked, obvious, serious or significant, while an unimportant one can be described as minor, slight or small.

Those responsible for discrepancies may be called upon to explain them or account for them or reasons may be found that explain the discrepancies, as in ‘Slight variations in temperature account for the discrepancies in the results of the experiment’.  

People may notice discrepancies or detect, discover, find or identify them, as in ‘Should you notice any discrepancies in the figures, please notify us immediately so that we can amend our records’.

A discrepancy in a set of figures or in a report can be highlighted, pointed out, shown or revealed, as in ‘The report highlights the discrepancy between the official inflation rate of 10% and the estimated ‘true’ rate of 23%’. 

If a discrepancy arises (or exists or occurs), it is normally necessary to deal with it in some way. Two verbs that collocate with discrepancy with this meaning are correct and resolve, as in ‘The company has been making strenuous efforts to resolve the apparent discrepancy between the service customers were offered when signing up for the scheme and the actual service delivered’.

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