This tag is for questions about the differences in the meaning of two words.

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27
votes
12answers
14k views

“Nothing to tell” versus “nothing to say”

There's nothing to tell. There's nothing to say. Can anyone explain the difference between those two statements and give some examples on how they should be used? I think I do have a basic ...
15
votes
6answers
14k views

“Use” vs. “usage”

When should one use usage instead of use? Examples?
12
votes
3answers
15k views

Is there any difference between “color” and “colour”?

What is the difference between color and colour?
11
votes
3answers
3k views

“Backward” versus “backwards” — is there any difference?

The dictionaries I've looked in don't distinguish between these two words, backward and backwards (at least when used as adverbs). Is there some real historical, grammatical or regional difference ...
2
votes
2answers
15k views

What is the difference between “no” and “not”? [closed]

What is the difference between "no" and "not"? We know that "no" and "not" have the same meaning. I'm studying English. I hope to get help. Sorry for my language.
19
votes
3answers
5k views

Is there a general rule for the prefixation of “un-” and “de-” to words?

Given the different questions we have seen about the prefixes "de-" and "un-", I have grown curious if there is a overarching rule for terms that need undoing. “Unselect” or “Deselect”? “Unregister” ...
5
votes
2answers
14k views

Should I say 'What I wanted to say is' or 'What I wanted to say was'?

Following Martha's advice I am splitting up a question Compound sentences, the punctuation and mooore. Let's put what I said / wrote something in the past. And now I want to elaborate some key points ...
18
votes
3answers
3k views

Does the word, ‘peruse’ have a single meaning of ‘attentive reading,’ or double, contradicting meanings of ‘attentive’ and ‘cursory’ reading?

I’m confused to find opposite definitions in the same word, ‘peruse’ in Readers English Japanese Dictionary published by a leading foreign language dictionary publisher in Japan. It defines ‘peruse’ ...
6
votes
7answers
19k views

the difference between fast/quick/rapid

She is a karate coach. She is not very powerful, but she is very quick/fast/rapid. Can I use all three words quick, fast or rapid in the sentence? Could you tell me the different meanings ...
5
votes
4answers
14k views

“Me being” versus “my being” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Gerund preceded by possessive pronoun (e.g. “He resents your being more popular than he is”) Until a few months ago, I had always thought that sentences like ...
18
votes
8answers
7k views

Ripe with Opportunity? Or Rife?

The Grammarist says I should use rife with rather than ripe with. So far so good and I agree. But is there an exception for ripe with opportunity? Googlefight overwhelmingly prefers ripe, and I like ...
9
votes
3answers
5k views

Different conditional clauses — “if you saw”, “if you were to see”, “if you had seen”

Given the following sentences, what is the difference between the conditional clauses in them? If you saw a lion in a thick forest, what would you do? If you were to see a lion in a thick ...
8
votes
5answers
23k views

What is the difference between “photo” and “image”?

What is the difference between photo and image?
7
votes
6answers
953 views

Do the following negations mean the same thing?

I don't think you understood me. / I think you misunderstood me. Do these senteces mean the same thing? If not, what's the difference? Edit: I just realized that I asked something different ...
6
votes
2answers
568 views

“Like” versus “as”

Is there any difference between the following couples of sentences? Dress as you would if you were having guests. Dress like if you were having guests. She kissed him goodbye, as usual. ...
4
votes
6answers
1k views

“More perfect” versus “less imperfect”

"More perfect" is presumably bad English (Preamble to the US Constitution notwithstanding), since something is either perfect (and thus can't be improved) or not. "Less imperfect", however, seems ...
3
votes
1answer
31k views

“I don't know nothing” vs “I don't know anything” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is there a rule about double negations that aren't meant as double negations (e.g. “We don't need no education”)? Double negation   I'm not a native ...
3
votes
1answer
884 views

Difference between “but” and “nothing but”

Every now and then I stumble about a construction like this: It was but something.... and I understand it to be It was nothing but.... or It was only... depending on the context. I ...
82
votes
10answers
79k views

“Unregister” vs “Deregister”

The concept of "undoing a registration" is widely used in my line of work. While most dictionaries define unregister as the proper verb for it, several widely used and highly considered sources also ...
33
votes
7answers
109k views

What is the difference between 'make decision' and 'take decision'?

What is the difference between make decision and take decision? When to use the one and when the other?
4
votes
3answers
21k views

“It could/might/may be funny” — what is the correct usage?

What is the difference in meaning in these three sentences? it might be funny it could be funny it may be funny The answer was partially touched on in this post.
13
votes
3answers
35k views

What is the difference between “clothes” and “clothing”?

Do some google I find that clothes work like objects like: You should pack your clothes. → Yes You should pack your clothing. → No Can you tell me the main difference between clothing ...
29
votes
12answers
9k views

Do the words “jail” and “prison” refer to different things?

In everyday speech, the terms jail and prison are used interchangeably in many situations. However, my understanding is that, at least in the US, they actually refer to slightly different things. For ...
13
votes
1answer
78k views

When to use “cannot” versus “can't”?

When is it best to write "can't" versus writing "cannot"? Are they interchangeable in every situation?
17
votes
4answers
2k views

Meaning of “My friend, who lives in Paris, is a teacher” with and without commas

Can anyone help me understand the difference in meaning between these two sentences? My friend who lives in Paris is a teacher. My friend, who lives in Paris, is a teacher. To me it ...
17
votes
10answers
131k views

Difference between “OK” and “okay”

While typing a post on SO, I noticed that the word "ok" (when used in the sentence "I'm still learning so it is ok") was marked as misspelled (got to love spellcheck!) The first suggestion, however, ...
14
votes
3answers
13k views

Difference between “each” and “every”

What is the difference between the following two sentences? Each apple is red. Every apple is red.
15
votes
8answers
110k views

What's the difference between a jumper, a pullover, and a sweater?

Following on from a recent question, in Australia we have the word jumper for a knitted long-sleeved garment, typically woollen and long-sleeved. When cosuming foreign media I always assumed the ...
3
votes
3answers
10k views

Difference between “with”, “at” and “for” with a business title and a company name

The prepositions “with”, “at” and “for” are also used to associate a business title with a company's name. It seems that they are interchangeable, with no (significant) difference in meaning. The ...
15
votes
3answers
7k views

Past tense of wake: is there a difference between “waked”, and “woke”?

I just stumbled over the verb "to wake", which according to various sources has two valid forms for the past tense: "woke" and "waked". Some further research stated, that there seem to be two (Old / ...
6
votes
3answers
5k views

What does “shortening” mean? Is it different from “abbreviation”?

What does shortening mean? Is it different from abbreviation? I checked the dictionary, but I don't get the difference clearly.
6
votes
3answers
13k views

What is the difference between “into” and “onto”?

I see both used, at times, almost interchangeably. What are the general guidelines?
4
votes
4answers
6k views

“State-of-the-art” and “technology”

I recently saw the etymology of the word technology and it comes from Greek thchni meaning art and logos which means word, reasoning, and stuff like that. So I reckon technology means doing something ...
0
votes
2answers
364 views

“would” and “will”

which one is correct OR what is the difference between the following sentences: I think the duration of the meeting would be two hours. I think the duration of the meeting will be two hours. ...
5
votes
6answers
11k views

When to use “Elven”, “Elvish” and “Elfic”?

Well, these are three adjectives for "something from the elves". But I'm spanish and in my language there's only one adjective for these (élfico), and I can't understand what's the difference.
5
votes
4answers
627 views

US Route 101 — “The 101”

In my part of the world, we refer to highways without any article. So we drive on "Highway 64", or "Interstate 64", or "I-64". But when I go to California, they say "The 101". Is there any explanation ...
3
votes
3answers
2k views

What is the difference between “University of Bla” and “Bla University”?

In some scientific papers, we see that some professors write "University of Bla" on their papers, while others write "Bla University". What is the difference between "University of Bla" and "Bla ...
3
votes
2answers
430 views

What is the difference between ‘Hot Corned Beef’ and ‘“Hot” Corned Beef’?

I have seen the phrase '"Hot" Corned Beef' on several convenience store signs in my area. Since corned beef is is usually served warm or hot, am I missing part of the meaning of the sign?
2
votes
3answers
260 views

“At/In the Summer Olympics”

! I found this to be strange: in Wikipedia, Russia at the 2008 Summer Olympics Russia competed at the 2008 Summer Olympics How different is the meaning if at is changed to in?
2
votes
2answers
7k views

“Myself” vs. “by myself”

I get confused with the following. Any explanation would be greatly appreciated. I can't do it myself. I can't do it by myself.
1
vote
2answers
3k views

“Could not have been” vs. “must not have been”

What's the difference between "could not have been" and "must not have been"? For example, That could not have been an easy task. That must not have been an easy task. I've seen both ...
1
vote
0answers
1k views

Difference between “in” and “into” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: When should “into” be used rather than “in to,” and vice versa? I often get confused about which one to use: in or into? Kindly tell me what the ...
0
votes
3answers
20k views

“I understand you” vs “I do understand you” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What is the difference in meaning between “I play” and “I do play”? What is the difference between "I understand you" and "I do understand you", ...
36
votes
7answers
185k views

Difference between nevertheless and nonetheless

I am never quite sure whether to use nevertheless or nonetheless; they seem almost synonymous to me, but I think I might be missing a subtle distinction. Is there a difference, and if so, how do I ...
64
votes
8answers
21k views

What's the difference between “null” and “void” in legal language?

In the legal term "null and void," what is the difference between null and void? Why not just use one of the two terms? And can either term be used without the other?
7
votes
2answers
65k views

What is the difference between “phonetic” and “phonemic”?

I've read several descriptions but I still don't understand. From what I can gather, the main (or only) difference is phonemics is not concerned with "nondistinctive elements" but I don't know what ...
15
votes
6answers
243k views

What's the difference between “I look forward to” and “I'm looking forward to”?

I just don't get the reasoning behind which one is correct in which situation. Typically I use the wrong one, or I use them when I'm not supposed to.
29
votes
5answers
40k views

Is there a difference between “arse” and “ass”?

From a comment here, in frequent usage, arse and ass are often interchangeable when used to refer to buttocks or to a person of dubious charms. However, although “to arse about” has a vague connection ...
19
votes
4answers
66k views

“How about” vs. “What about”

Is there a difference between starting a question with "How about" and "What about"? Can we use both expressions interchangeably?
13
votes
3answers
4k views

“whether” vs. “if ” [duplicate]

How can I know when should I use whether or if in a sentence? I can not see any difference between whether and if. When should I use each? For me, they are the same and I am not sure if there is a ...