Which is the best word to use from the ones given in title to use in the following sentence ?

When the morning _____ , the murder was discovered.

  • arrived

  • occurred

  • happened

  • came

Please don't suggest any other word instead of those four given options as this was a MCQ pattern based question asked in my exam and I have to choose just from those four options.

  • "best" is subjective. "correct" is not. One person may prefer different word usage. Whoever created this question should reevaluate asking for objective answers to subjective questions.
    – Flater
    May 29, 2017 at 10:39
  • The answer is came! Even I'm not sure why is that the answer! Hence, offering a bounty. It is indeed a thought-provoking question needs more attention!
    – Maulik V
    Aug 3, 2017 at 5:02
  • @Flater I think a couple of the options sound better than others -- I don't see why the question shouldn't be asked.
    – Ringo
    Aug 3, 2017 at 19:35
  • 4
    Morning is something that occurs predictably every day. It is associated with a time. "Arrived" or "came" would both be commonly used. You just wait for the time of morning to arrive and there it is. "Occurred" or "happened" are used with unpredictable things. They let you know the status of something that you couldn't know just by checking your watch or a calendar. Between "arrived" and "came", there is no objective best answer.
    – fixer1234
    Aug 3, 2017 at 20:56
  • @Ringo: As per the OP's explanation, this was an exam question. And such an exam question is inherently flawed as it relies on subjective preferences (e.g. some people might prefer "came" over "arrived"). It's impossible for us to know which word is the best word according to the examinator, unless only one word fits (which is not the case). "Best" does not mean the same thing as "most commonly used". One can argue that using fewer letters to convey the same message is better. And that doesn't even begin to scratch the topic of common usage varying per culture/region.
    – Flater
    Aug 4, 2017 at 8:32

2 Answers 2


When the morning arrived is a very common phrase.

When the morning occurred is very uncommon. I don't think I've ever heard this phrase before, and it sounds pretty awkward to me.

When the morning happened is also uncommon, but is used in certain situations informally to mean that a big event or series of events occurred. For example, if you had a very busy morning filled with unusual events (say you got an unexpected promotion at work but then your car broke down in traffic), you could look back on your day and say, "Morning happened." In this case, you would leave out the article "the," so it doesn't seem like this option is the correct answer.

When the morning came is also commonly used, but probably not as common as "arrived."

I would say "arrived" or "came" are both acceptable, but "arrived" is a little more common and is probably the answer they are looking for. But this is not a good question they ask, considering there are two viable options.

  • 1
    I as a non-native speaker would probably always choose came, and that's the correct answer. I would never use occur or happened with the word morning. Aug 4, 2017 at 5:27
  • @SovereignSun Me too. But "arrived" is possible. Aug 4, 2017 at 5:48
  • Note how your answer argues that "arrived" is the most correct, but the OP has confirmed in comments (below his own question) that the correct answer was "came". This is exactly why I argue that this question is flawed. "Best" is subjective. You clearly favor "arrived", but the examinator apparently favors "came". Neither of you is wrong, but your answers to the same question do conflict to a point where any given answer immediately implies that the other answers are the wrong answer to this question (a wrong answer = it's not the best choice, regardless of whether it's grammatically correct).
    – Flater
    Aug 4, 2017 at 9:26
  • Yes, I agree -- I do point out that two answers are possible and that it's not a good question for the examinator to ask.
    – Ringo
    Aug 4, 2017 at 16:43
  • But I think also some learning took place -- including my own.
    – Ringo
    Aug 4, 2017 at 16:43
  • When the morning came, the murder was discovered.

As you are asking for the best word then choose came to be on the safe side.

Came here means happened, occured and arrived in the course of time. Took place and started to exist.

  • But then winter can definitely arrive; in that way, even night can occur!
    – Maulik V
    Aug 3, 2017 at 5:25
  • @MaulikV There is no way to award a bounty here based on the "best" choice between came and arrived. In this context (and context here is critical, and cannot be considered in such methods as counting the number of collocations in a corpus), a native speaker is equally likely to use either one. What are you going to do, flip a coin? Aug 8, 2017 at 2:35

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