Certificate, diploma, degree

Tell anyone this: “Hey, I’ve just got an engineering certificate” – chances are, no one bothers. So what? However, if you tell the same bunch of people that you have an engineering degree, they’d go “Wow, you’re so clever” or something along that line.

First, let’s look at the definitions (compiled from a few dictionaries):

  • certificate (n.) = an official document stating that a particular fact is true
  • diploma (n.) = a qualification awarded by colleges, universities and selected schools upon successful completion of a course
  • degree (n.) = a higher-level qualification traditionally awarded by universities only, but now even colleges award them.

From these definitions, it is evident that a diploma and a degree areย  actually certificates because they are official documents to show that you have gained the skill and knowledge in the course that you have taken. Therefore, what is wrong if someone has an engineering certificate? It could well be a degree in engineering!!

Malaysians, especially, are too status-conscious. Anything “low” is not good, which explains why the word “certificate” means nothing much to many of us. If you look at the broader picture – and if you know your vocabulary like the back of your hand – you’ll feel comfortable using the word “certificate“.

Hmm… perhaps someone should start a Degree in Marriage course to make marriages more valuable. ๐Ÿ˜€ – maybe there is one!!

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Posted on October 22, 2009, in Jottings and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Very very true – Marriage Certificate ‘weighs’ only (1kg) and Marriage Degree (100kg) lol. Same goes for corporate, those days if you say ‘me only Executive’ is a grade above ‘Officer’ and a grade below ‘Manager’. But nowadays CEO is almost at the top but the word ‘Executive and Officer’ is [or are?] being used. [(is) refers to (word) but ‘Executive & Officer’ is two words so we use (are)?]. (Kepala pusing lah). Heard the truck or bus driver in US has a new ‘title’ its “Highway Pilot”, huh???

    • To answer your question: “Executive” and “officer” [are] because they’re (I believe) two separate positions. However, the “King and I” [is] a favourite Thai restaurant in Melaka. So, it’s not the number of words that decides whether you use “is” or “are”. You’ve to take into consideration the whole context.

      “Highway Pilot” eh? It could be true as they “fly” on an empty highway. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Wow that was [is?] a pretty fast reply. Thanks. Many a times I often “hide” when facing ambiguity and people do not care much. Can we use “that’s fast”? Have been “cheating” all this while with words, and I’m desperate to learn the proper way but just do not have the chance. I am delighted, I found it @ “Back To English”.

    • Yes, Cheah… that’s fast ๐Ÿ™‚

      Whenever I’m free, I’d check my blog and I make it a point to reply as soon as I can, as I know people are waiting for answers. If I’m unable to get the answers, I’d look for it. That would take time, obviously.

      Pass the word around about my blog – to anyone: your colleagues, your friends, your kids (if you’re married). They might just learn a thing or two, just as you have learnt.

  3. Sure will be more than happy to beat the “gong” on this magnificent “pearl” to all my friends, colleagues, gang, family member and especially to buddies whose ‘Engrish’ is half past six and who must also have the same desire as me to learn. My motto in life is “you are never too old to learn” in Chinese a direct translation we often say “Eat till old learn till old”. :p

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