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

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8
votes
2answers
2k views

Is there a clear delineation between the usages of 'this' and 'that' in American English?

One of my linguistics professors speaks English as a second language, and remarked that she never knows which of the two is appropriate. Given a list of examples, all native speakers in the classroom ...
6
votes
4answers
86k views

“Started to work” vs “Started working”

What is the difference between the following: Things started to work again. Things started working again.
5
votes
2answers
18k 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 ...
6
votes
5answers
13k views

“Thus” vs. “Thusly”

I read an article that used "thusly" and was wondering if there is any grammatical credence to it. The quote: The issue started when Sokolowski quickly ran out of storage capacity in his 32GB ...
18
votes
8answers
8k 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 ...
7
votes
6answers
1k 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 from ...
6
votes
2answers
636 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. ...
5
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
1answer
966 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 ...
95
votes
10answers
91k 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 ...
40
votes
7answers
141k 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?
69
votes
11answers
73k views

What is the difference between an Emperor and a King?

I was at a loss when I was asked recently by my grand-daughter who is a school girl about the difference between Emperor and King. She asked me why Great Britain has King and Queen, while Germany and ...
11
votes
1answer
44k views

“Did you find” versus “have you found”

What is the difference between "Did you find?" and "Have you found?" When should I use the first sentence, and when the second one?
14
votes
3answers
43k 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 ...
14
votes
1answer
94k 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?
19
votes
3answers
6k 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” ...
2
votes
2answers
16k 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.
15
votes
8answers
125k 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 ...
12
votes
4answers
9k views

Difference between “due to” and “thanks to”

When should "due to" be preferred over "thanks to", and vice versa? When can they be used interchangeably?
10
votes
5answers
79k views

What's the difference between “speak” and “talk”, grammatically speaking?

There are a number of questions e.g. What is the difference between “speaking” and “talking”? and “Speak to” vs. “Speak with” that deal with the slightly different connotations of the words "speak" ...
3
votes
3answers
13k 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 ...
18
votes
3answers
4k 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’ ...
15
votes
3answers
10k 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
19k views

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

I see both used, at times, almost interchangeably. What are the general guidelines?
6
votes
3answers
6k 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.
4
votes
4answers
7k 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
701 views

Can object complements make any difference to sentences?

I'm reading a grammar book, and I have some questions. A. We ate the fish raw. I want Sue drunk. I prefer the music soft. I like coffee black. We drank the beer cold. This type of ...
0
votes
2answers
17k views

“Die from cancer” vs. “die of cancer”

Is there a difference between those expressions: "Die from cancer" or "Die of cancer"? Are they both correct?
9
votes
5answers
15k views

“Lower number” vs. “smaller number”

Is −9 a smaller number than −8? And is −9 a lower number than −8? What is the difference between lower and smaller here?
8
votes
5answers
27k views

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

What is the difference between photo and image?
5
votes
4answers
1k views

Usage of the gerund preceded by the possessive adjective/determiner?

I read this thread on the usage of the gerund preceded by the possessive adjective/determiner with much interest. I have another question about the usage of the gerund preceded by the possessive ...
5
votes
6answers
12k 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
697 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 ...
4
votes
6answers
2k 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
8k 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
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
1answer
176 views

When do I use Present Continuous for near future instead of “be going to”?

I am reading this lesson about present continuous. As the writer states USE 3 Near Future Sometimes, speakers use the Present Continuous to indicate that something will or will not happen in ...
42
votes
7answers
209k 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 ...
71
votes
8answers
23k 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?
36
votes
2answers
45k views

When I should use “assure” vs. “ensure” vs. “insure”?

When is it appropriate to use assure vs. ensure vs. insure?
30
votes
5answers
45k 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 ...
14
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 ...
18
votes
4answers
20k views

Difference between “spicy” and “hot”

I make a distinction between "hot" and "spicy" food ("hot" not referring to temperature). I consider "hot" food the kind that "burns" and "spicy" food that has lots of flavor, but that may or may not "...
11
votes
3answers
29k views

Difference between “classical” and “classic”

What's the difference between classical and classic? Should we say classic content in textbooks or classical content in textbooks?
10
votes
3answers
55k views

Difference between phrase, idiom and expression [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What is the difference between an expression and a phrase? Difference between “phrase” and “idiom” What is the difference between a phrase, an ...
5
votes
3answers
17k views

What's the difference between the words “journey”, “travel” and “trip”?

As they always were interchangeable in an article, I just want to know the difference.
22
votes
6answers
15k views

What exactly are the differences between “diligent”, “assiduous” and “sedulous”?

From OALD: sedulous (formal) showing great care and effort in your work synonym: diligent assiduous (formal) working very hard and taking great care that everything is done as well as it ...
18
votes
10answers
146k 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, ...
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 ...
15
votes
6answers
17k views

“Use” vs. “usage”

When should one use usage instead of use? Examples?