dilemma



In its main sense dilemma refers to a situation in which a choice must be made between alternative courses of action or argument. Although there is plenty of evidence that attests to widespread use of the term meaning simply ?a problem? or ?a predicament? and involving no issue of choice, the Usage Panel doesn?t support this practice. Seventy-four percent of the panel rejects the sentence Juvenile drug abuse is the great dilemma of the 1980s.    1
  It is sometimes claimed that because the di- in dilemma comes from the Greek prefix meaning ?two,? the word should be used only when exactly two choices are involved. But 64 percent of the Usage Panel accepts its use for choices among three or more options in the example Ph.D. students who haven?t completed their dissertations by the time their fellowships expire face a difficult dilemma: whether to take out loans to support themselves, to try to work part-time at both a job and their research, or to give up on the degree entirely.    2




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