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

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19
votes
4answers
14k views

What's the difference between “mistrust” and “distrust”?

Are mistrust and distrust synonyms? And if so, how have two such similar words coexist for so long? Google N-grams suggests the two words have coexisted since the 1700's.
16
votes
12answers
18k views

What is the difference between “quicker” and “faster”?

What is the correct word to use here and why: I will get there quicker [than you] vs. I will get there faster [than you] There must be similar adverbs for "slower".
16
votes
8answers
16k views

Difference between “condo” and “apartment”

I have never really understood the connotation of someone calling their domicile a condo over the word apartment. I have a vague feeling the former is fancier and more up-scale, but are there any ...
13
votes
5answers
33k views

Is there a semantic difference between “pedophile” and “pederast”?

If I understand the etymology of pedophile and pederast, both mean child lover. Is there a difference in their connotation? In some recent local news stories that discuss changing sex offender laws, ...
11
votes
4answers
23k views

What's the difference between the words “plate” and “dish”?

I'm confused about the words dish and plate. Could someone please explain the difference?
11
votes
5answers
18k views

When would you say “woods”, and when would you say “forest”?

Is there any difference here at all?
10
votes
8answers
17k views

What's the difference between “cup” and “glass”?

Are "cup" and "glass" the same in English? Can I call a "glass" a cup made of plastic?
8
votes
2answers
51k views

What's the difference between “dissatisfied” and “unsatisfied”?

Is there a clear-cut difference between dissatisfied and unsatisfied?
8
votes
8answers
42k views

Difference between “little” and “small”

Is there a difference between them? If so, how and when are they used? For example: I fixed a little/small typo.
7
votes
2answers
3k views

Different Meanings of 'Jumper' (Transatlantic embarassment)

I'm originally from Wales, now living in the USA, and as the cold weather is approaching I'm determined, this year, to start using the word sweater to describe the item of clothing I'm wearing, as ...
7
votes
3answers
11k views

“Contest” vs. “competition”

I've read plenty of discussions, and I wanted to know whether the following statements are true or false: contest is more casual than competition a competition relies more on intelligence while a ...
6
votes
1answer
4k views

“I love to [verb]” vs “I love [gerund]” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicates: Catenatives followed by infinitives and gerunds “I like to do (be) something” vs “I like doing (being) something” What is the difference between "I love to sing" and ...
5
votes
3answers
10k 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.
5
votes
3answers
944 views

Spelling protocol (American/British/Canadian) for an International conference

If I'm a Canadian who'll be presenting in an international conference, should I use my country's spelling, which is the Canadian/British spelling like "grey" or the more used American spelling like ...
4
votes
4answers
29k views

What is the difference between “don't care” and “don't mind”?

From an English Help Online blog post: “don’t mind” sounds very polite and gentle. It’s like the person is saying “It’s ok with me.”; however, “don’t care” sounds stronger and it’s like the ...
4
votes
3answers
17k views

What's the difference between a proverb and an idiom?

I think I have a notion what is what but maybe you know a good definition what is what? For example "Hindsight is always 20:20" — is that a proverb or an idiom?
3
votes
2answers
4k 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
1answer
2k views

“Go XXX” or “go to XXX”

Sometimes I see go XXX (go home) and sometimes go to XXX (go to school, go to work). Is there any specific rule about this?
2
votes
4answers
6k views

Meaning of various valedictions or closing expressions

Related to, but I believe distinct from, the following questions: What does the "yours" in "yours sincerely" mean? What are some expressions that can be used to end an email? ...
2
votes
6answers
2k views

“Optimal” vs. “ideal”

I was wondering when to use which because both optimal and ideal convey the same meaning to me. For e.g., comparing these two usages: This is the optimal temperature for the machine to work ...
1
vote
4answers
5k views

Are 'effectually' and 'effectively' completely interchangable?

In the OED: effectively, (adverb)—in such a manner as to achieve a desired result: make sure that resources are used effectively. effectual, (adjective)—successful in producing ...
0
votes
1answer
232 views

Disinterested vs. uninterested

I’ve always understood the difference between disinterested and uninterested as follows: uninterested: not interested, not up to it disinterested: impartial Consider the situation of someone ...
18
votes
5answers
54k views

“Versus” versus “vs.” in writing

In writing, when should one use the abbreviation vs. as opposed to the full versus? This abbreviation seems to have special status from common usage. What is the origin of that, and in what writing ...
8
votes
5answers
1k views

Difference between “spirit” and “soul”

What is the difference between spirit and soul? Is the word soul used for only human beings? For instance, He [Descartes] thought the brain worked as a center for the spirits of the soul.
8
votes
5answers
9k 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?
7
votes
5answers
4k views

That which is vulgar, obscene, or profane (title reflects contents)

When I look up the word "fuck" in the dictionary, I see that it is listed as a vulgar term. However, if I use it in church, I might be scolded for speaking profanity in the Lord's house. If I use it ...
7
votes
2answers
2k views

What is the difference between “raise” and “rise”?

What is the difference between raise and rise? When and how should I use each one?
6
votes
3answers
5k views

“Object of” vs. “subject of” — which one is correct? Does it depend on context?

(Tried to search to see if this question had already been asked, but could not find it amongst the many questions concerning pronoun declension and objects and subjects as parts of speech.) What, ...
6
votes
3answers
34k views

Relating to or related to?

I read this sentence in a book. However, it does not solve specific problems relating to a business or a profession. I often use related to instead of relating to. Is there any difference?
6
votes
3answers
4k 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
5answers
330 views

About using singular as food

Consider the following : He likes dogs. He likes dog. (1) would mean he likes dogs as pets and (2) refers to dog as food. My question is, does the same apply to nouns such as orange and ...
6
votes
3answers
2k views

“Do it very quickly” vs “do it ASAP”

What is the difference between these phrases? Please, do it very quickly, since the deadline is approaching. and Please, do it ASAP, because the deadline is approaching.
5
votes
1answer
878 views

To friend vs. to befriend

I overheard a mother correct her child who said something to the effect of There was a new kid in my class today and I friended him. The mother said befriended and I was inclined to mentally ...
5
votes
2answers
2k views

“Are they American?” or “Are they Americans?”

What is the difference bewteen Are they American and Are they Americans?
5
votes
5answers
47k views

“Movies” vs. “Cinema” vs. “Theater” — what's the difference?

What are the differences between going to "the movies", "the cinema", and "the theater/theatre" (ignoring the fact that theaters are also for plays and not just movies)? Personally, "movies" sounds ...
5
votes
2answers
2k views

“Instant” vs. “instantaneous”

What is the difference between instant and instantaneous? Which is correct in this sentence? It had an almost __ response time.
5
votes
4answers
3k views

What is the difference between “horrify” and “terrify”?

When would I use one, versus using the other?
4
votes
4answers
2k views

What is the Pronunciation of “-sts” at the end of the word?

How can we pronounce words ending with -sts? lists costs tests I often heard people pronunce its like, lɪsts and kɒsts lɪsː kɔsː but which one is acceptable?
4
votes
3answers
16k views

“Turn out the light” vs “Turn off the light”

What is the difference between "turn out the lights" and "turn off the lights"? Are they interchangeable? Which one seems more appropriate if there is no difference?
4
votes
4answers
8k views

“The service is temporarily unavailable” vs. “…not available”

Is there a difference? Both versions are common. If there is a difference, which do I use when, and why?
4
votes
1answer
13k views

Distinctly vs Distinctively

I use the latter most of the time, but I am unsure where the former is more appropriate. What are the different uses of "distinctly" vs "distinctively"?
4
votes
8answers
7k views

What is the difference between a marque and a brand?

What is the difference between a marque and a brand? For example, why would one use the expression "car marques" instead of "car brands"?
4
votes
1answer
3k views

Difference between “therapy” and “treatment”

What is the difference between therapy and treatment?
4
votes
1answer
1k views

What are the differences among ‘Rules’, ‘Standing Rules’, and ‘Bylaw’?

Recently I was given a document titled Standing Rules of an English speaking club of a local community, which was written in English, and asked to study the contents. I wondered what difference ...
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
7k views

Is there any difference between “has gone” and “went” in this context?

Is there any difference between these two sentences? Mirek went to Europe on business. Mirek has gone to Europe on business.
3
votes
5answers
511 views

“Authoring” versus “Writing”

In my area of work the word author as a verb has become quite common. However, it seems to have a subtly different meaning than plain vanilla write. For example, one does not write software unit ...
3
votes
4answers
2k views

Can you call someone who chooses to quit his/her study in college as alumnus?

Oxford dictionary on alumnus: a male former pupil or student of a particular school, college, or university Oxford dictionary on dropout: a person who has abandoned a course of study or who ...
3
votes
3answers
1k views

Difference between “personal goals” and “Long/short-term objectives”

I've been asked by my employer to complete a "performance review". Within the context of my role at the company, it asks me for my "Long and Short Term Objectives" and my "Personal Goals". ...
3
votes
3answers
3k views

“Approve (of),” “assent,” “consent,” and “grant”

I wonder if there is any difference in using approve (of), assent, consent, and grant as verbs. Can anyone help?