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Which of the following words would be the most commonly used and the most "familier" when speaking about for example a student or an employee who does his homework/work in a very careful and thorough way:

Il est un étudiant/employé très scrupuleux/minutieux/méticuleux/consciencieux

Merci d'avance!

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It's hard to select an adjective because they all more or less overlap. About the familier requirement, none of them are particularly colloquial but they are all well known by everyone.

The choice also depend on what characteristic you want to focus on.

I would anyway go for:

C'est un étudiant/employé très méticuleux.

Minutieux would be a close second, the person is also doing their homework accurately, the opposite of botching.

A person consciencieuse is focused about ethics.

Scrupuleux is like consciencieux, but more negative, the work might not actually be done for fear of breaking a rule.

Reyedy suggested rigoureux which belongs indeed to the same set. Here the focus is on the care with which the rules are followed, even though it might be painful. According to Google books, rigoureux is three to six times more popular in printed material that the remaining adjectives of the list:

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  • Does the following ngram indicates something about the usage? books.google.com/ngrams/… – Dimitris Jul 1 at 21:27
  • @Dimitris Well, they are not very common but not very rare either. Three of them slowly fade out in the 20th century but with no spectacular change in the last decades. Méticuleux is the only one with a mostly raising popularity during that period. The most interesting change is consciencieux with a popularity multiplied by ten in just a decade (1820-1830). – jlliagre Jul 1 at 22:00
  • What would you guys think of rigoureux? I like the fact that it describes someone who cares about every detail and wants to provide a result as clean as possible. – Reyedy Jul 2 at 7:41
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    @Reyedy Yes. Added, thanks. – jlliagre Jul 2 at 7:59

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