Synonyms or no?
Would you ever say about a woman “She’s attractive, but I wouldn’t call her pretty”? “She’s pretty but do you really think she’s lovely?” Are these distinctions without differences?
If you’re a woman, would you consider one of the adjectives to be sincerely admiring if it were applied to you, and one of them perhaps probably insincere? Is “attractive,” for example, possibly pejorative in that it implies “Well, somebody, somewhere, might feel drawn to her, though certainly not me,” or is “attractive” the most complimentary of the three and the one you’d hope would be most sincerely applied to you?
Can you name one celeb to whom each word applies much more than the others? Julia Roberts, for example, the movie title not withstanding, isn’t what I’d call “pretty” but she’s certainly attractive. (I’d say “pretty” applied to her the least of the three words–she looks like The Joker to me, not that I’d kick her out of bed for eating HiHos.) Now, Shania Twain–all three apply, but if I had to pick one it would be “pretty.” “Lovely” to me implies a kind of sweetness of personality that underlies the good appearance, and it’s hard to know celebs’ personalities, but maybe “lovely” would apply to Karen Carpenter, who I would kick out of bed but only because her corpse probably is starting to smell by now.
Anyway, who’s pretty? Who’s lovely? Who’s attractive? And if you’re a woman, which is one would be the most and least sincerely applied to you? (Also, “How YOU doin’”?)