Which of the following is more natural?

  • Your job is to check products for defects.

  • Your job is to spot defective goods.

I'd appreciate your help.

  • Why do you suppose that one or the other is the more natural of the two? Apr 21 '18 at 11:20
  • I suspect "check products for defects" is the expression typically used in manufacturing.
    – Apollyon
    Apr 21 '18 at 11:21
  • Would that make it more "natural", or less "natural"? Are you wanting to know whether "spot" is too informal for a formal job description, say? Apr 21 '18 at 11:21
  • Yes. Also, is "defective" a bit too formal to go with "spot" (if the latter is indeed informal)? Is "spot" natural in a job description?
    – Apollyon
    Apr 21 '18 at 12:38
  • spot is a colloquialism, so that if your intention is to write a formal job description, it should not be used. job is also something of a colloquialism too. Corporate HR might word the description as follows: The primary responsibility of this position is to examine products coming off the production line for manufacturing defects. The holder of the position might describe his job to a friend by saying My job is to spot defects. Apr 21 '18 at 16:07

Both sentences are "natural", but they are not equally useful.

It is normal to have a situation where somebody takes each "object" and studies it in order to find defects. Therefore the following actually has a practical purpose:

Your job is to check products for defects.

However, "to spot" is more likely a passive process: you just sit comfortably and look from a distance. If you happen to see a defect, report it. Therefore, there is a high chance to release products as defect-less, while they actually have defects - you just did not spot them.

So your second sentence is correct and sounds "natural", but it has no practical purpose - actually, if you use it in a business, you may be in for some serious trouble.


Either could be used:

"Check goods" suggest a process of taking each item and checking it, in quite a structured way.

"Spot" suggests a less structured approach, searching for defects in multiple ways.

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