grammatical word: contend

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Today’s grammatical word is the verb “contend”. It has three uses in English. First, we use it when we want to talk about a difficult situation or person that we have to tolerate. For example:

I don’t like my new boss. He’s not very nice to me, and I have to contend with his constant criticisms.

Nobody likes Mr. Carson, but he’s a very important client. You’ll just have to learn to contend with him.

A: Sales are down right now at my company because of the bad economy, so I’m not making so much money right now.

B: Well, that happens sometimes. You just have to contend with that situation until things get better.

We can also use it to talk about a competition between two groups or people. For example:

Dan Wheaton and George Bartley are contending for the title of boxing heavyweight champion of the world. Personally, I think Wheaton will win.

I’m contending with two of my co-workers for the job of department manager. I hope I get the promotion.

Tokyo was contending with three other cities for the 2016 summer Olympics, but they lost out to Rio de Janeiro.

Finally, we can use “contend” when we want to talk about expressing an opinion about something that other people don’t agree with. For example:

I know the other people in my class disagree with me, but I contend that George Eliot was a better writer than Charles Dickens.

My wife contends that learning Chinese characters isn’t so difficult, but I don’t agree. It’s so hard for me.

Nobody believes Trevor when he said he saw a UFO, but he still contends that he actually saw one.

So, as you can see from my examples, the word “contend” is followed by different words depending on the meaning. With the first meaning, it is followed by “with”. With the second meaning, it is followed by “for”, and for the last meaning, it is followed by “that”.


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