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Pick out the word in each of the following that is different (Odd One Out)

Intuitive, initiative, talkative, quantitative

The answer is - initiative.

PS - I just want to know the reason or the logic used here to pick 'initiative' the odd one out.

Meanings:

Intuitive : when one feels something to be true without conscious reasoning. Initiative : ability to initiate and assess things, to take charge before others do. Talkative : one who talks a lot. quantitative : ample quantity

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  • I thought at first this was a trivial question, since it's easy to look the words up and establish that they're all adjectives except the noun initiative. But on reflection I can see there's a genuine issue regarding the -ive suffix. Most people would classify sensitive as an adjective (responsive to or aware of feelings), but presented with She is a sensitive, they'll immediately interpret it as a noun with the highly specific sense a person who is believed to respond to paranormal influences. Jun 21, 2017 at 13:33
  • @FumbleFingers Note that thinking "maybe the difference is the part of speech" is itself not trivial to think of. It's fairly obvious to a fluent speaker, of course, but not to someone who isn't accustomed to these words on the basis of a lot of usage. Comparing the parts of speech wouldn't work on this question, and indeed a fluent speaker probably wouldn't even think to try it there.
    – Ben Kovitz
    Jun 22, 2017 at 7:45

1 Answer 1

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"Initiative" is the only noun. (The definitions aren't the most helpful, because they make it sound like 3 and 4 are also nouns. They're adjectives.)

as answered by @LukeSawczak

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  • 1
    What dictionary did you consult? A good dictionary will usually tell you what part of speech the word is. All the words you listed are adjectives, but initiative can also be a noun. Look it up here, for example, and notice the n. before the definition – it stands for noun; the adj. stands for adjective.
    – user3395
    Jun 21, 2017 at 13:41
  • "Intuitive" is also a noun. (I think @userr2684291 meant to say that "initiative" is also an adjective, which is true.) But I'm pretty sure this answer is right. In their most typical usages, only "initiative" is a noun, and the others are adjectives.
    – Ben Kovitz
    Jun 22, 2017 at 7:38
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    @BenKovitz Oh, I didn't know that; thanks – not even the OED (second edition) registers that sense of the word. I would think that intuitive as a noun is some kind of specialistic use which you could do with talkative as well. For example, I might be talking about a talkative in my social intelligence book as a type of person which I'm trying to contrast with a non-talkative or some such. The same with quantitative in some scientific book with deals with measurements, etc.
    – user3395
    Jun 22, 2017 at 10:35

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