The sunrise is quite a sight to behold.

This is a house with a fine view over the valley.

An erupting volcano is a wonderful spectacle.

She enjoyed the mountain scenery very much.

The two hills with the valley formed a beatiful landscape.

Taxes and buses were part of the street scene.

Are these words interchangeable in the examples above?

  • 1
    I think you can describe most of them with the word "view". For example: "sight" -> view , "Spectacle" -> enjoyable view , "scenery and landscape" -> View of a field like a city or sea . – user3214 Mar 25 '14 at 12:02

Not entirely. "Sight" and "spectacle" are fairly interchangeable. However, there is an element of unusualness or of demanding one's attention in a spectacle that a sight doesn't necessarily have. For example, a person coming in out of the rain, dripping wet, might have someone look sympathetically at him and say "Well, aren't you a sight!" A person dancing on a table at a party and howling like a wolf might be told by his companions to stop making a spectacle of himself.

Now, a view from a house is what you can see from the house. That's idiomatic. (When I was a young man living in Chicago I remember seeing a roommate advertisment for an apartment which jokingly mentioned "three bedrooms, one bath, view of train".)

Scenery is generally what you see when you go out in nature. Landscape is also, but generally refers to a specific instance of scenery, as your examples demonstrate.

The "street scene" is idiomatic and you wouldn't use one of the other nouns. It means the particular characteristics of the street or streets in the area you're referring to.

  • I see. He or she wanted to say trains could be seen from the apartment, View of train didn't mean what he or she intended to say. – Kinzle B Mar 26 '14 at 14:24
  • Well, yes, it was what he intended to say; he was saying was that when you look out your apartment window you see the train. An advertisement for an apartment will generally mention things that make the apartment more desirable than others--"view of park" or "view of lake", for example. Having a train run by your apartment at 60 mph every fifteen minutes makes the apartment less desirable rather than more so. "View of train" is a humorous way of mentioning this liability, humorous because he uses the phrase to pretend that it is a desirable thing to have. – BobRodes Mar 26 '14 at 15:18

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