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I have a sentence:

This bed can ____ a 500 kg load without bending

Which word should I use to fill the blank? I have thought of 2 words: possess and have but which one is correct?

Thank you for your answers!

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    Neither word fits. "Hold" or "support" might be appropriate. "Possess means to own, and the closest relevant definition of "have" would be a meaning something like "contain as part of it's structure". – fixer1234 Apr 2 '17 at 4:06
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    You can use the verbs bear, hold or sustain instead of possess and have. – Khan Apr 2 '17 at 5:27
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Possess doesn't seem right because it sounds too much like the bed owns the weight, or that the weight is a feature of the bed. Have also sounds like ownership to me here, so I don't think it works very well.

If we rephrase it as

This bed can have a 500 kg load on it without bending

then it is very clear that the weight is applied to the bed and that it is a notable feat.

Returning to the original structure, I think some better options are hold, carry, and support.

  • hold
    4 c: to bear the pressure of : support • can the roof hold all of that weight
  • carry
    11 : to sustain the weight or burden of • Pillars carry an arch. • is carrying a full course load
  • support
    4 a : to hold up or serve as a foundation or prop for

I think they're all equally good.

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I would offer slightly different suggestions based on what type of bed is being referred to. These suggestions can be used interchangeably for both types of bed, so its not a hard distinction.

If the 'bed' in question is a bed used for sleeping, then I would offer the following (among many) options:

This bed can carry a 500 kg load without bending.

This bed can support a 500 kg load without bending.

This bed can hold a 500 kg load without bending.

This bed can take a 500 kg load without bending.

On the other hand, if the 'bed' in question is an industrial bed (e.g. the load bed of a vehicle), then I'd be swayed towards phrasing it like:

This bed can withstand a 500 kg load without bending.

This bed can support a 500 kg load without bending.

Nuances in Meaning

As mentioned at the start of the answer, these suggestions are not exclusionary based on the type of bed, but can be used interchangeably.

  • In the first instance (bed to sleep on) the word 'carry' has a nicer supportive connotation, whereas using 'withstand' might give the impression that the users of the bed are heavy, and that the bed is just about coping with such a weight.

  • In the second instance (load bed), the word 'withstand' gives the impression that it is a mechanical limit or capacity targeted at professional users.

These are small nuances between different words that you might wish to pay attention to based on the audience of the sentence (e.g. if this is a marketing statement, then go for a word that is least likely to be misinterpreted or cause offence; if this is a technical document, then pick the word that is most accurate or relevant).

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Support or withstand seems to be the more appropriate answer and not possess or have. They are described well as above.

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  • Welcome to ELL! Please edit to include an explanation of why this is correct; answers without explanation aren't particularly helpful. See the Submitting Answers that merely answer the question discussion on meta. Also, when I view this page there is nothing "above" your answer - answers can change order, be edited, or be deleted, so your answer should stand on its own. – ColleenV Apr 2 '17 at 13:51

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