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

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14
votes
4answers
21k 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?
6
votes
3answers
27k views

“Recommend you to” vs. “recommend that you”

I recommend you to define those parameters beforehand. I recommend that you define those parameters beforehand. Are both sentences grammatically correct? If yes, do they mean the same thing? If ...
5
votes
4answers
21k 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 ...
13
votes
2answers
13k 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 ...
10
votes
5answers
18k 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
29k 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?
6
votes
7answers
22k 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 between ...
5
votes
4answers
17k 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
7k 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 nationally-...
4
votes
2answers
9k 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
3answers
14k 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
4k 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 ...
19
votes
4answers
50k 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 ...
10
votes
4answers
32k 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
23k 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 ...
9
votes
5answers
3k views

Is it absolutely necessary to use “than” over “then” in a comparison? [closed]

Do you think you are smarter then me? While this question should be using than...I have to wonder if this is a debatable topic within English or is this cut and dry? If this specific instance is ...
6
votes
3answers
33k 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
16k views

“Seek” vs.“search”

I've been wondering, what is the difference between seek and search? When should one be preferred over the other?
4
votes
1answer
39k 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 ...
1
vote
3answers
455 views

“When X is” or “When X will be”?

I always have a tough time with this. Suppose the following: The software will be installed when the computer is ready. versus The software will be installed when the computer will be ready. ...
0
votes
1answer
266 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
384 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.
-1
votes
1answer
659 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?
16
votes
2answers
7k 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
791 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
8k views

Is “most” equivalent to “a majority of”?

In sentences such as the following, how is most best understood? 1) Most children do not like cauliflower. 2) Most of the balls in the bucket are red. I suppose there are three or more ...
6
votes
7answers
61k views

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

These words seem to have similar meanings, possibly with different connotations.
5
votes
4answers
10k views

Cipher vs. Cypher

I recently came across a (not very well written) piece of writing in which "cipher" and "cypher" were used interchangeably. Is there any difference between them, or are they two spellings of the exact ...
4
votes
3answers
8k 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
3k 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 "at" ...
2
votes
4answers
16k views

How do hyphens modify the meaning of “n-month-old”?

I see three different ways of hyphenating the phrase "six month old". Six-month old: A six-month old poses with a machine gun owned by supporters of the Free Syrian Army. Six-month-old: ...
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
3answers
23k 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", and ...
0
votes
1answer
242 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 .......... ...
-1
votes
1answer
4k 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 the ...
-1
votes
1answer
12k views

What are the differences between “impolite” and “unpolite”?

Definition of impolite in OD: not having or showing good manners; rude. Definition of unpolite in TFD: Not polite; impolite; rude.
91
votes
1answer
349k 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 ...
62
votes
12answers
46k 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?
29
votes
4answers
20k views

What is the difference between “proven” and “proved”?

"Proven" and "proved" both seem to mean the same thing. Are there any differences in meaning or usage between them?
35
votes
3answers
258k 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 class....
19
votes
6answers
283k 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.
22
votes
4answers
78k 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?
7
votes
2answers
75k 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
7answers
116k 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, ...
15
votes
3answers
16k views

Difference between “each” and “every”

What is the difference between the following two sentences? Each apple is red. Every apple is red.
14
votes
3answers
68k views

“Give up” versus “give in”

Do give up and give in imply different meanings?
46
votes
3answers
45k 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 ...
16
votes
4answers
97k views

What is the difference between “accumulative” and “cumulative”?

I'm having a hard time understanding the real distinction between accumulative and cumulative. accumulative adjective tending to accumulate or arising from accumulation; cumulative. ...
16
votes
7answers
88k 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 "...