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

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12
votes
4answers
10k views

What is the distinction between “role” and “rôle” [with a circumflex]?

One of our users, Stan Rogers, mentioned there was such a distinction, I think, when he answered a question and talked about how the orthography of foreign loan-words typically changes to conform with ...
8
votes
7answers
14k views

What's the difference between “well-lighted” and “well-lit”?

This question has been on my mind since I first read Hemingway's story, "A clean well-lighted place". I have never heard "well-lighted" in my life other than in this story. I have heard that a room ...
6
votes
4answers
22k views

When should we use “and” and/or “and/or”?

What's the difference between "and" and "and/or"? How do we decide whether to use one or the other? Note: Also it would be great if someone could explain how do we actually pronounce "and/or" ...
5
votes
2answers
8k 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
7k 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
111 views

How does 'X notwithstanding' = 'notwithstanding X'?

I wish to understand 'notwithstanding', only in terms of the adverb 'not' and the (root) verb withstand. So please base on your feedback on these two words, instead of other words. Hereafter, suppose ...
-1
votes
1answer
563 views

“have to” or “must” [duplicate]

I am trying to teach the difference between the use have to or must. But my students do not understand anything. Could you help me?
18
votes
7answers
24k views

What's the difference between “big” and “large”?

What's the proper way to say: a large family or a big family? What's the difference between them?
13
votes
1answer
4k views

“Defense” or “defence”

Is the only difference that in USA they write it with s and in UK they write it with c, or is there anything more?
9
votes
5answers
13k views

Is “administrate” a valid English verb? What's the difference between it and “administer”?

We had an interesting discussion yesterday about the use of administer and administrate. I feel that there is a case for both usages -- sometimes you might administer something, and other times you ...
8
votes
4answers
701 views

“Back up data” or “back data up”?

Which is correct? To back up data. To back data up. The context is the following: He was careful enough to perform tests and [back up data | back data up] to avoid any problems.
6
votes
6answers
734 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
19k views

Isle vs. Island

Some islands are called isle like "Isle of Man", "Isle of Tortuga" and the "British Isles". Other islands are called island, like "Island of Malta" or "Island of Cyprus". What is the difference ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

Simple present vs. present continuous

What is the difference between saying: Are you still working there? Do you still work there? Which is more common in spoken vs written English? Google books returned results for both of ...
3
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 ...
2
votes
3answers
4k views

Is there any difference between “word-for-word translation” and “word-by-word translation” and is the latter actually valid?

First off, some data: According to COCA word-for-word has 60 usages, 3 of them are "word-for-word translation". Word-by-word has 26 usages, none of them are "word-by-word translation" (but some with ...
2
votes
2answers
2k views

Prepositions to use when indicating locations [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: When should I use “in” or “on”? I am always confused with the prepositions to use when indicating an event happening at a place. Should I use ...
1
vote
8answers
1k views

Is there a difference between “bitter” and “better” in pronunciation?

I was wondering if there was any difference between "bitter" and "better" in pronunciation? My assumption is that one is pronounced with a soft "d" as in "better" and the other one with a hard "t" as ...
0
votes
1answer
181 views

present continuous or be going to?

In his book, Grammar and Vocabulary for First Certificate, Luck Prodromou has ruled out the possibility of using 'be going to' to complete the following sentence : 'What .......... you .......... ...
0
votes
2answers
1k views

What is the difference between words like “historic” and “historical,” and “instructive” and “instructional?” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Why is it “geometric” but “theoretical”? They're all adjectives, so how do you know when to use one over the other? Does it matter? I think it ...
-1
votes
1answer
3k views

“Did it close” vs “Has it closed”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How do the tenses in English correspond temporally to one another? What's the difference between the following? Did the shop close? Has the shop closed? I suspect ...
72
votes
1answer
260k views

What's the difference between “requester” and “requestor”?

Both are in dictionaries. I've heard people insist "requester" is correct for a person who requests something, and that "requestor" is wrong there, leaving me to wonder how it is used. Requestor ...
57
votes
11answers
27k views

What is the difference between “it's up to you” and “it's down to you”?

I see both "It's up to you" and "It's down to you" in conversations. So what's the difference?
104
votes
10answers
21k views

Differences between slang words for breasts

What is the difference between “tits” and “boobs”? P.S. I'm not sure if this question is appropriate but as English is not my native language I really would love to know the difference.
17
votes
3answers
22k views

“Compared with” vs “Compared to”—which is used when?

Is only one of them correct? Are they used in different situations? Or are they interchangeable?
29
votes
7answers
76k 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?
14
votes
2answers
126k views

'I get it' vs. 'I got it'

When someone tells me something, how should I respond, "I get it" or "I got it"? I have a feeling that "I got it" means "I already knew the thing before you told me," and "I get it" means "Now I know ...
6
votes
4answers
24k views

“I have no …” vs. “I don't have …”

I have no house. I don't have a house. What's the difference between the phrases like the ones above?
16
votes
4answers
47k 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?
15
votes
5answers
37k views

Difference between “theorem” and “theory”

What is the difference between a theorem and a theory? The two words seem to be used to describe very similar things, but yet do not seem to be interchangeable. For example, we have Pythagoras' ...
13
votes
3answers
3k 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 ...
12
votes
4answers
30k views

What's the difference between “egotism” and “egoism”?

I am interested in the difference between these two seemingly synonymous terms.
6
votes
2answers
13k views

“Stop working” vs “stopped to work”

I want to know, is there any difference between "stop + v.(ing)" and "stopped to + v.". These are example sentences. I stop working for a month. vs I stopped to work for a month. I stop watching ...
17
votes
6answers
20k views

Difference between “validation” and “verification”

What is the difference between validation and verification? When looking them up on Wiktionary they seem to mean mostly the same thing, but is there a difference? For example, would I be correct in ...
12
votes
3answers
15k views

What is the difference between “none of …” and “neither of”?

What's the difference between the following examples: Neither of my teachers are mathematicians. None of my teachers are mathematicians.
10
votes
3answers
35k views

Difference between “are you done” and “have you done.”

I was just wondering, how can we differentiate "are you done?" and "have you done?", and what is the appropriate way to use each?
10
votes
4answers
16k views

Which is correct: “home in” or “hone in”?

I've heard people say "Home in on something", but I've also heard others say "Hone in on something". Which is the correct expression, and what is the etymology of these?
10
votes
3answers
43k views

What's the difference between “imbalance” and “unbalance”?

Is there a difference in usage between imbalance and unbalance as nouns? Specifically, we are designing a product where we measure three (3) related quantities continuously. These three quantities ...
10
votes
4answers
8k views

What are: province, territory, protectorate, state…?

Often a country will have regions called "provinces" or "states". Other times they are called "territories" and "protectorates". Is there a generic term for these words? Is there a full list of ...
29
votes
3answers
29k views

“Maximum” vs. “maximal”

What is the difference in usage between maximum and maximal? When would you use one or the other? Maximum can be a noun or an adjective: This is the maximum it can be set to. This is the ...
25
votes
6answers
12k views

What is the difference between “archetype” and “prototype”?

I'm very confused by the difference between "archetype" and "prototype", and even more baffled when to use which. Can someone clarify?
16
votes
3answers
19k views

“Sick” or “ill”?

If I'm not healthy, am I sick or am I ill? Are these interchangeable, or do they merely overlap?
10
votes
4answers
52k views

“Percent” vs. “percentile”

Just because .01% of people may be at risk of frying themselves on the third rail doesn't mean they need to modify the system for that miniscule percentile. It just means you need to let Darwinism ...
9
votes
3answers
20k views

What's the difference between 'cutlery', 'silverware' and 'crockery'?

What's the difference between 'cutlery', 'silverware' and 'crockery'? Are there any differences between them?
8
votes
4answers
9k views

What's the difference between orthography and spelling?

The terms "spelling" and "orthography" seem to be largely synonymous. What is the difference really? Is it that "orthography" is a more formal or technical term and hence more well-defined? Or is it ...
8
votes
4answers
3k views

“Just” versus “simply”

To which extent is just interchangeable with simply, as in the example? It's becoming more than just annoying. It's becoming more than simply annoying. Is just synonym of simply in just any ...
8
votes
2answers
6k views

“Also” and “as well” for conversational context

"Also" and "as well" seem to be quite similar in meaning, but I'd like to know shades in its meaning and usage, especially for everyday conversational language. What one will sound more natural and ...
7
votes
5answers
13k views

Which is the proper spelling: “Adapter” or “adaptor”?

In my current project we are writing a program to convert a newer protocol to an older one. These conversion programs are being referred to as adapters, but the team cannot agree which spelling to ...
6
votes
3answers
11k views

Difference between “take a taxi” and “get a taxi”

What is difference between the following sentences? I take a taxi/bus/train. I get a taxi/bus/train.
6
votes
3answers
1k views

“Normalization” vs. “canonicalization”

It seems both normalization and canonicalization are used to describe the effort to transform from an arbitrary form to a unique form. Is there any difference between the two words? Why is there XML ...