5

1 He is fit to do it.

2 He is fitting to do it.

3 The water is fit for drinking.

4 The water is fitting for drinking.

I can't pin point why it feels that 2 and 4 are wrong. If I think rationally, they must make sense. Are they wrong and why?

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  • 5
    They absolutely are wrong. Have you checked a dictionary?
    – Astralbee
    Mar 5 at 12:08
  • It didn't help.
    – user1425
    Mar 5 at 12:11
  • 2
    "2 - He is fitting to do it" is fine if you mean he is a fitting choice (of ours), not that he is capable. Mar 5 at 15:04
  • 2
    @YosefBaskin that wording sounds weird, you would not say he is fitting to do it, you'd say he is a fitting choice, or it is fitting to choose him.
    – barbecue
    Mar 6 at 13:28
  • @YosefBaskin humbly suggest you delete your comment (it's totally wrong, and totally wrong comments cause a staggering amount of confusion on this site). There are already a number of superb full answers in place.
    – Fattie
    Mar 6 at 15:26

4 Answers 4

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Don't be confused by the fact that the word 'fit' can also be a verb - as adjectives, 'fit' and 'fitting' are completely different words with different uses.

  • 'Fit' means able, or suitable or capable for a particular purpose or task.
  • 'Fitting' means appropriate, usually in terms of looks or behaviour, and this is not the right word for your example.

'Appropriateness' means suitability in the context, meaning something fitting/appropriate in one context may not be in another. 'Fit' is not usually contextual (unless you qualify it by saying fit for purpose); for example, a person who is physically fit doesn't become unfit in different settings.

Examples:

  • If a source of water was declared "fit" to drink, it is safe and suitable to drink. That would be universally true - the water would be unsafe in any context or setting.

  • We would say that a piece of music was "fitting" if it was appropriate to the setting. Most people would consider "Disco Inferno" to be inappropriate at a cremation as grieving relatives would not want to hear the chorus of burn baby burn as the coffin goes into the incinerator; yet the same song would be wholly appropriate at a disco party. Context makes it fitting.

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  • 1
    So it means The water is appropriate for drinking, why is it wrong?
    – user1425
    Mar 5 at 15:58
  • 2
    @user1425 It's wrong because 'appropriate' means suitable or proper in the circumstances. For example, "Burn Baby Burn" might be an appropriate song to play at a wedding party, not so much at a cremation. It's about context. Water is either safe to drink or not, that's why we would use "fit" or "suitable".
    – Astralbee
    Mar 6 at 10:03
  • I can't be bothered, I wish someone would explain fit to do it WRONG ready to do it CORRECT fit for a job CORRECT
    – Fattie
    Mar 6 at 15:30
  • 2
    @Fattie There is absolutely nothing at all wrong with ‘fit to do it’. It is perfectly normal, commonplace, idiomatic and correct. See for example the first highlighted collocation under OLD fit, def. 1 and 2. You are 100% incorrect. Mar 6 at 17:19
  • 2
    @Fattie 'News' is not plural. It's just a word that ends in an 's'. That's why we use it with the definite article (ie the news) because it is one, non-countable noun. If it's plural, can you show me an example of someone referring to "a new"?
    – Astralbee
    Mar 8 at 9:06
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The use of fitting as an adjective is described in this dictionary.

fitting. adjective, formal
right for a particular situation or occasion. SYN: appropriate

  • I thought the memorial was a fitting tribute to the president.
  • a fitting end to what was a memorable trip

it is only fitting (that)

  • It is only fitting that Simon should propose the first toast tonight.

It seems unlikely that one would use fitting to say water is, or is not, appropriate, but this form is not impossible.

One could say, "Water is not fitting as an alternative to communion wine."

More likely one would say "This water is not fit to drink." Implying it is unpleasant or dangerous to drink .

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  • 3
    You basically hit the main points.
    – Lambie
    Mar 5 at 16:52
  • Thanks. I am new to this stack exchange 😀 Mar 5 at 17:04
4

There are two reasons that 2 and 4 feel wrong. One is that "fitting" really means "appropriate in a cultural sense". A typical use might be:

Her speech was a fitting tribute to her father.

The other reason is that "fitting" is a word that is just somewhat restricted in its natural use. It is relatively rare to see it used as a predicative adjective when not applied to the dummy subject "it". So

It is fitting to drink Champagne at a celebration.

is very normal, but

Champagne is fitting for celebrations.

sounds a little weird to my ear. Not ungrammatical, but not a phrasing you'd see often. On the other hand,

Champagne is a fitting beverage for celebrations.

is natural. The difference is that, before, "fitting" is predicative - it is part of the predicate of the sentence, directly applying to the subject. But, in the last example, "fitting" modifies "beverage", and it seems natural.

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    ' "fitting" really means "appropriate in a cultural sense" ' that is it it is culturally appropriate, not physically appropriate. "it is not fitting to drink beer for breakfast", stick some negative examples in about drink to prove it isn't about the use of the drink but where or when you are using it.
    – WendyG
    Mar 6 at 12:21
1

Only one of those examples works: 3 'The water is fit for drinking…' and there,'The water is fit to drink' would be more usual.

4 'The water is fitting for drinking' could never work. 'It is/could be fitting to drink the water' has a wholly different meaning.

1 'He is fit to do it…' should rather be, 'He is fit for it…'

Rather differently, 2 'He is fitting to do it…' should be, 'He is fitted to do it…' or, very differently, 'It is/could be fitting for him to do it…'

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  • I disagree - 1 & 3 are fine; 2 is close / slightly unusual, only #4 is completely wrong.
    – MikeB
    Mar 6 at 10:32
  • If this is about 'fit' v 'fitting' then no. Looking again, I withdraw 1 'He is fit to do it…' should rather be, 'He is fit for it…' and suggest instead 1 'He is fit to do it' is quite different: 'He is physically capable of doing it'; ie, he isn't drunk, injured or ill. Mar 6 at 14:04
  • 1
    @RobbieGoodwin , nope 1 is fine, consider it an answer to a question "is he strong enough to climb this hill?"
    – WendyG
    Mar 6 at 15:15
  • @Wendy Nope… Please read the Question again, then my Answer, then my response to MikeB then please show how your 'is he strong enough…' differs from my 'He is physically capable of doing it'; ie, he isn't drunk, injured or ill. I say again, 'fit' as in the gym is wholly different from anything to do with the difference between 'fit' v 'fitting' as in suitability. Does that not work for you? Mar 6 at 20:51
  • At the risk of repeating a campaign plea, I think Down-votes should be allowed only when Down-voters explain. I couldn't care less who Downed me here, but as in all such cases, why should the 'defendant' not be allowed to know the nature of the 'charge'? Mar 6 at 20:53

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