Why desperation not despair

Alan,

Hi, I don’t understand why ‘despair’ is wrong here.

Thanks in advance,
Elena

Test No. [color=blue]errors/advan-10 “Late at the Office”, question 5

In desolation Ms Primshaw hoped she would be able to make one last effort to help Mary.

(a) desolation
(b) hoped
© be able
(d) to

Test No. [color=blue]errors/advan-10 “Late at the Office”, answer 5

In desperation Ms Primshaw hoped she would be able to make one last effort to help Mary.

Correct entry: desperation
The error was: (a) desolation

You have [color=green]found the error but your entry is [color=red]incorrect.
In despair Ms Primshaw hoped she would be able to make one last effort to help Mary.

Hi,

Thanks for this question. I had a feeling that the topic might come up when I was writing the test. Let me try and explain my thinking. A state of despair is a situation where you have given up all hope and accept the consequences. A state of desperation is if you like the next step forward - you have experienced despair but now you are desperate and you do something very often dramatic, violent, dangerous, perhaps criminal in order to get out of this situation. If you see a larger animal killing a smaller one for food, the victim is fighting for its life and will take desperate measures in order to survive. It is not just sitting there in despair and doing nothing. I have tried to show this idea in the sentence by reference to ‘last effort’ /last resort.

I hope this helps
Alan

That’s Alan, thanks a lot, I never realized that, in fact Russian language does not even provide such a difference.