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

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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 ...
7
votes
2answers
8k views

What's the practical difference between “allot” and “allocate”?

I've noticed allot is usually used as an adjective (as in, "your allotted amount"), and allocate is more often used as a verb (as in, "I will allocate some resources"). Any other notable differences?
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 ...
6
votes
6answers
18k views

What is the difference between “Class of 2004” and “Batch of 2004”?

What is the difference between "Class of 2004" and "Batch of 2004"? I have a feeling that one means the students who joined the university in 2004 and the other means those who graduated in 2004. Is ...
3
votes
6answers
6k views

What is the difference between “attribute” and “property”?

Could you please clear up the meaning of these two words for me? I don't understand this sentence: Attributes introduced by RDFA have names. For example, property is one such attribute.
19
votes
4answers
15k 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.
19
votes
5answers
59k 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 ...
17
votes
12answers
20k 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
18k 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
36k 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
25k 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
19k views

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

Is there any difference here at all?
10
votes
8answers
19k 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
59k views

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

Is there a clear-cut difference between dissatisfied and unsatisfied?
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.
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
5k 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
995 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
33k 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
18k 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
5k 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
2answers
5k views

What are the differences between “seems not” and “doesn't seem”?

Are the following sentences correct? He seems not to want to help us and He seems want to help us. Is it correct if I use "seem" in a negative sentence? Which role does "seem" play? ...
2
votes
4answers
7k 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
6k 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
256 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 ...
0
votes
3answers
6k 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.
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
6k 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
37k 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
341 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
5answers
51k 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 ...
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
1k 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
4answers
9k 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?
5
votes
2answers
3k views

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

What is the difference bewteen Are they American and Are they Americans?
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
17k 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
1answer
14k 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
8k 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 ...