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

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10
votes
1answer
35k 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?
12
votes
6answers
57k views

What's the difference between “client” and “customer”?

I already asked a similar question (customer vs. client vs. user vs. consumer of on-line service) but, I believe, there may be some differences between technical and legal jargon and general usage of ...
10
votes
3answers
48k 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 ...
21
votes
6answers
13k 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 ...
14
votes
4answers
19k 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?
13
votes
4answers
47k views

“Plausible” vs. “possible”

I am looking to find the difference between possible and plausible. Here is what Apple's dictionary gives for each word: Possible: Able to be done; within the power or capacity of someone or ...
11
votes
3answers
27k 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?
4
votes
4answers
32k views

“Do you have” vs “Have you got”

I am studying English and I want to know the main difference between “Have you got?” and “Do you have?” questions. Are they the same? Is one more formal than the other?
30
votes
2answers
17k views

What is the difference between “maybe” and “may be”?

What is the difference in meaning and usage between maybe and may be? Are they synonymous?
13
votes
4answers
12k 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 ...
12
votes
4answers
8k 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
16k 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
25k 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?
5
votes
3answers
17k views

“Pupil” or “Student”, what is the correct use?

I'm German and we distinguish between "Schüler" (pupil) and "Student" (student). When reading English news articles, and I read the words "student" or "students", most of the time the articles seem ...
5
votes
3answers
6k views

What's the difference between the various dialects of English?

I've read and heard "British English", "American English", "Australian English", etc. I know there are differences in accents and word choices but is there a larger difference that makes ...
3
votes
2answers
7k views

“A and B both are” vs. “A and B are both” vs. “Both A and B are” vs. “Both of A and B are”?

A and B both are very good; A and B are both very good. Both A and B are very good. Both of A and B are very good. Are there subtle differences between the four sentences above?
3
votes
4answers
32k views

“Plan to do” vs. “plan on doing”

What are the differences between the following? He is planning to do something. He is planning on doing something. When to use each?
3
votes
3answers
13k views

Difference between 'just' and 'only'

'Just' and 'only' carry a similar meaning, and while my feel for language usually helps me decide which one to use, there are times when I'm at a loss. From my understanding, 'just' is used as a ...
1
vote
3answers
3k views

Is there any rule for differentiating between the endings “th” and “ht”?

Some words end in th (length, width), and others end in ht (height, fight, tonight, caught). I sometimes have difficulties in spelling such words because I don't know which ending to choose. Is ...
20
votes
7answers
37k 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?
19
votes
4answers
45k views

What are the important differences between Canadian and American (USA) English?

English is not my first language; the little English I know is mostly from the USA. I know some of the differences between British English (or just English?) and American English, and the same with ...
9
votes
4answers
27k 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" ...
9
votes
7answers
19k 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
5answers
11k 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
202 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
635 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?
15
votes
2answers
6k 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?
8
votes
4answers
748 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.
7
votes
3answers
6k views

What's the difference between “jelly” and “jam”?

I've seen both words being used (peanut butter and jelly; peanut butter and jam), but I was wondering whether they were both words for the same thing, or if there's actually a distinct difference ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

How and when did “bash” and “do” come to mean party?

I am on my way to a faculty party at the university. The Head of Sciences is retiring and is throwing a huge bash, all his staff, selected external examiners like me and various scientists from ...
6
votes
7answers
54k views

What's the difference between “debate” and “argument”?

These words seem to have similar meanings, possibly with different connotations.
5
votes
3answers
27k 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
3answers
7k 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
2k 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 ...
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
2k 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
220 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 ...
83
votes
1answer
317k 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 ...
60
votes
11answers
39k 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?
20
votes
3answers
36k 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?
110
votes
10answers
24k 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.
35
votes
3answers
232k views

What's the difference between “eldest” and “oldest”?

When should I use "eldest" and when should I use "oldest"? Are the differences semantic or regional? (Or both?) (What got me wondering is the removeEldestEntry() method in Java's LinkedHashMap ...
18
votes
2answers
161k 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 ...
14
votes
7answers
102k views

Difference between “full professional proficiency” and “native or bilingual proficiency”

When I logged on to LinkedIn the other day, I was prompted to add information about which language I speak and at which level. I consider myself to be pretty fluent both in written and spoken English, ...
8
votes
4answers
32k 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
7answers
75k views

What is the difference between “as per” and “according to”?

See the following two sentences. As per my knowledge it is right. According to my knowledge it is right. Are both the sentences right? What is the difference and use of "as per" and ...
12
votes
5answers
9k views

Difference between “garbage” and “trash”?

What's the difference between garbage and trash? Is the difference significant?
11
votes
3answers
63k views

“Give up” versus “give in”

Do give up and give in imply different meanings?