what is the differences between exhausted and tired?

i had had an exam last year. i had had a question which is below

By the time he had finished work and returned home, he was absolutely .....................

a) exhausted b) tired c) petrified d) weak

i know the choice should be tired but i'm wondering that why isn't exhausted.

i guess there is a slim difference between them. am i wrong?
1 2

actually the choice should be a)exhausted.

There is much more than a slim difference between them. If I walked 5 miles I would be tired. If I walked 20 miles I would be exhausted. Exhausted is the extreme version of tired. You can be tired after a small exertion, but exhausted means that you are very very tired, can hardly move tired. It's a bit like the difference between warm and boiling hot. Something wouldn't be absolutely (completely) warm but it could be absolutely boiling hot. You can't be absolutely tired but you can be absolutely exhausted.
to me exhausted can be too but i have choosen tired and the correct answer is tired.

i want to say that how can we determine which one is correct? by our sense?

i certainly agree with your idea about absolutely, absolutely is strong expression.
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Well, if that was the correct answer you can't argue with it now, but I think it was an error. To say someone is 'absolutely tired' sounds ridiculous. Just one of those collocations that does not work.
oh excuse me nona, don't get angry of me. i just wondered. thanks for your care.
No no I didn't mean to be angry with you at all. Sorry if I gave that impression.Emotion: big smile

I just think there was a ridiculous error in that exercise. That's their fault, not yours.
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Well, I agree that "absolutely exhausted" is the correct answer!

It's seem more popular, I guess!

Normally, we use extremely tired. So, I don't think "absolutely tired" is the answer!

Any ideas? ^^

I agree with you, CK: "extremely tired", but "absolutely exhausted".

Those examiners should be shot.

Is shooting the writers of poorly written test questions also part of the duties of the invigilator?

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