Considering the word Consider*

So, here’s the thing. Are there any usage examples of synonyms of “consider”, meaning variants in depth — nuance in meaning? Maybe, maybe not. Let’s experiment…

So, the example phrase I will use is, “Consider the following data set….”, or “Consider the evidence…” How might alternatives to “consider” change meaning or understanding of the commentary?

What does a dictionary say?

The OE Dictionary defintion gives 2 main meanings, of which the first has 4 variants:

1. Think carefully about (something), typically before making a decision:
1.1 Think about and be drawn towards (a course of action):
1.2 Believe to be; think:
1.3[with object and complement] Regard (someone or something) as having a specified quality:
1.4 Take (something) into account when making a judgement:

Using my example phrases, I’m focusing on meanings 1, 1.1, 1.2 & 1.4, although I have a problem with the examples in the OE. It manages to give examples using the past tense — and I want to think of examples in the present tense, e.g. “consider the following…”, to avoid confusing emphasis with changing tense. Maybe more on that another time…


Synonyms

Roget and his competitors provide the following**:

If the phrase was, “consider the data before making a decision” then the synonyms might be:

think about, contemplate, give thought to, reflect on, examine, appraise, review
study, mull over, ponder, deliberate over, cogitate about, chew over, meditate on, meditate over, ruminate over, turn over in one’s mind
assess, evaluate, compare, weigh up, judge, consider the pros and cons of, sum up

If the example phrase was, “consider the evidence” (in order to make a judgement or have an opinion) then the synonyms might be:

take into consideration, take into account, take account of, make allowances for, respect, bear in mind, be mindful of, have regard to, reckon with, remember, mind, mark, heed, note, not forget, make provision for, take to heart, pay regard to, be guided by

Ranking

Ok, so let’s rank the synonyms — applied to example phrases — to give a scale of usage from extremely polite (“consider this is you wish”) to polite imperative (“please consider X in your work”) to instruction (“you must consider X in your assessment” — this is equivalent to saying, “I need to see evidence of how X affects your decision”)

Example phrase “consider the data before making a decision”

  1. please consider the data before making a decision
  2. take into account the data before making a decision
  3. consider the data before making a decision
  4. remember the data before making a decision
  5. note the data before making a decision
  6. make allowances for the data before making a decision
  7. be mindful of the data before making a decision
  8. do not forget the data before making a decision
  9. make provision for the data before making a decision
  10. you must consider the data before making a decision

Example phrase “consider the evidence

  1. please consider the evidence
  2. consider the evidence
  3. take account of the evidence
  4. be guided by the evidence
  5. make allowances for the evidence
  6. have regard to the evidence
  7. remember the evidence
  8. note the evidence
  9. do not forget the evidence
  10. make provision for the evidence
  11. you must consider the evidence

  • *Note: I’m writing this as a favour to a friend — hope it helps(!). I do not write this piece as a scholar of the English language but as a native English speaker — yes, good and bad implications there! Therefore, this is my interpretation of usage, nuance and emphasis as I would apply the terms.
  • **Note: I used the synonyms from the OE rather than Roget as there was a little more context from the OE.
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