Here is a question. If you go to the palace in tennis shoes, they will think you are ____
A. strange
B. odd
C. peculiar
D. eccentric.

The correct answer is D eccentric. Is anybody could tell me why? Because I think odd is also ok to be used here.


While you might call a person "odd", "strange" or "peculiar", all these adjectives can also describe a situation, or a thing. "Eccentric" uniquely describes a person, their personality, or a behaviour. For example, you could say "that's odd!" if something was out of place in your house, but you wouldn't say "that's eccentric!"

A characteristic of a truly eccentric person is that they do not seek approval of others. In your example, they don't care that other people might not approve of their shoe choice. So while you could describe their choice of shoe as "odd" or "peculiar" because it is not the norm, or what is expected, I support the answer you have been given because it is asking for a word to describe the person:

..they will think you are eccentric.

Of course, what is "normal" is completely subjective, and so when calling something or someone any of these things it is opinion-based. As such, people will likely disagree on their meaning and usage.

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    Thank you so much. I can totally understand your explanation of this question. – Sherry Lee Sep 6 '18 at 9:00

Well let me first say that any of those would be somewhat acceptable here.

The reason why eccentric would work best is because of the four possibilities, its definition pertains to a person's characteristic or taste. The others could be used in more generic contexts.

For instance, you wouldn't see an eccentric pair of sneakers in a shoe store, as shoes can't have properties or characteristics unbecoming of a human being, however those sneakers could be odd, strange, or peculiar.

In other words, it's the only word that would fit specifically referring to a person, and therefore it is most correct for this reason. Though calling someone odd for wearing tennis shoes in a palace is certainly okay as well.

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  • Thank you so much for your explanation here. That absolutely solve my problem. – Sherry Lee Sep 6 '18 at 9:02

As a native speaker I would be hard pressed to give a reason for rejecting any of the four options.

I see a dictionary definition of eccentric:

unconventional and slightly strange

and another explanation

an eccentric is an unconventional, odd person.

I am originally from Northern England and it's possible that "peculiar", in this pejorative meaning, is more usual in that part of the country.

None the less, I would prefer to use "eccentric", I think because it is typically applied to people and behaviour whereas the other words can be applied to objects and events too.

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    Thank you for your answering. At first, I thought all of these words can be used in this situation. Becuse they have the same meaning as I see. I wonder how the native speaker distinguishes these words. Being an English learner, it's always easier to talk but harder to take English tests.lol – Sherry Lee Sep 6 '18 at 9:10

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