"This way of evaluating better reflects the student's skills."
"This way of evaluating better represents the student's skills."

Which one is fitting? If both sound bad or if there is anything else that strikes you as odd be sure to tell me as well.

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    Can you tell us what dictionary you consulted to learn the meanings of the two English verbs reflect and represent? Commented Nov 15, 2016 at 23:14
  • The definition that comes up first when googling I dont know where they took it from, also cmabridge. But also factoring in these words counterparts in my native language. I know I shouldnt be doing that but I wanted to see if applications are the same or differ. To me "represent sounds a little odd in this case but I cant tell if its actually inappropriate . Commented Nov 15, 2016 at 23:29
  • Google is a lot of fun, but it's not a dictionary. Do you use an English dictionary? If you want to learn to use English well, you should get in the habit of looking up words in an English dictionary. Commented Nov 15, 2016 at 23:30
  • Well usually I look up things in dict.cc word to word translator and it has "depict" as one of "represents" meaning so I thought that might fit. Commented Nov 15, 2016 at 23:35
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    If what you want is to learn English, I can't exaggerate how important it is to use an English language dictionary like the Oxford or Merriam Webster learner's dictionary. It depends on what you want, of course. A translator like dict.cc won't really help you learn English; it will help you translate, though. In this case, either reflect or represent is a useful verb. Commented Nov 16, 2016 at 0:23

1 Answer 1


P.E. Dant's suggestions are absolutely correct. At some point you should look up the definitions of words in English and not rely on translations into your native language. The translations may be perfectly correct yet not properly express how the words are used by native English speakers.

Pulling the relevant definitions from the Oxford English Learner's dictionary:

Reflect: "to show or be a sign of the nature of something or of somebody’s attitude or feeling"

Represent: "to be an example or expression of something"

Of course, this method isn't perfect either, since these definitions are very similar. It's hard to tell which works best for what you want to say.

So you would need to refine what you want to say, and also dig a little deeper into the definitions.

  • "To reflect" also means to act like a mirror, to show an exact image of something.

  • "To represent" also means to be something, to be equal to that thing. Additionally, a representative is a person who acts or speaks on behalf of something.

So "to reflect" suggests projecting an image of a thing, while "to represent" suggests standing in for, or acting in place of that thing. Because of this nuance, in this context, I would use reflect -- but in a slightly different context, I might use represent.

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