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

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12
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5answers
59k views

What is the difference between 'can', 'could', 'may' and 'might'?

I'm a native English speaker and I've been doing some research into English grammar for a programme I'm working on. However, on looking into modal verbs, I've only just come to appreciate how subtle ...
12
votes
4answers
60k 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. ...
12
votes
9answers
13k views

Difference between “question” and “query”

What is the difference between a question and a query? It seems that in certain circumstances, the words are interchangeable: I have one further question. I have one further query. But, ...
12
votes
3answers
7k views

Difference between “each” and “every”

What is the difference between the following two sentences? Each apple is red. Every apple is red.
12
votes
5answers
40k views

Is there a difference between “holiday” and “vacation”?

What is the difference, if any, between these two words?
12
votes
3answers
10k views

“Between A and B” or “from A to B”

Suppose we are talking about the numbers 1, 2, ... , 10. When we use the phrase between 1 and 10, do we include the end-points 1 and 10? Is there any difference if we say from 1 to 10 instead?
12
votes
3answers
34k views

What is the difference between “metaphorical”, “allegorical”, and “figurative”?

What is the difference between metaphorical, allegorical, and figurative?
12
votes
10answers
28k views

“have” vs.“have got” in American and British English

I have looked through several questions and answers on EL&U, and often there is an indication that American English prefers "have" while British English prefers "have got". In addition, there are ...
12
votes
6answers
7k views

Difference between “run into”, “come upon” and “come across”

These phrasal verbs have a similar meaning (please correct me if not): run into come across come upon Are there any nuances to choose between them? For example, I might be wrong but I mostly see ...
12
votes
5answers
3k views

“Play it as it lays” or “play it as it lies”

The title of Joan Didion's book Play It as It Lays has thrown me off since I first heard it. Shouldn't it be Play It as It Lies? I have read through a related post on the subject of lay vs. lie and ...
12
votes
5answers
10k views

“Use” vs. “usage”

When should one use usage instead of use? Examples?
12
votes
4answers
22k views

“Arab” or “Arabic” or “Arabian”?

Are these adjectives interchangeable? I always hear: 'An Arab man.' but never 'An Arabic man.' and I always hear 'Arabic coffee' but never hear 'Arab coffee.'
12
votes
3answers
31k views

What is the difference between metonymy and synecdoche?

What is the difference between metonymy and synecdoche?
12
votes
1answer
2k views

Logging in or on?

There are a plethora of words for user accounts, like logon, login, signon, and also the action of logging in (or logging on) or signing in. Are there any usage guidelines here?
12
votes
3answers
22k views

What is the difference between “clothes” and “clothing”?

Do some google I find that clothes work like objects like: You should pack your clothes. → Yes You should pack your clothing. → No Can you tell me the main difference between clothing ...
12
votes
11answers
26k views

“Environmentally-friendly” vs. “Environment-friendly”

"Environmentally-friendly" sounds completely normal to me. So does "Environment-friendly". But I'm pretty sure I favour the former (despite the fact that I normally prefer the shorter of any two ...
12
votes
2answers
39k views

Surname, family name and last name

What is the difference between the three terms: surname, family name and last name? Do they mean the same? Or are there any particular contexts wherein one is more appropriate than the other?
12
votes
1answer
15k views

“Dependence” vs. “dependency”

These are two words that have baffled me for long. Dependency is given as 'excessive dependence' in Chambers, but I would love to know how the spoken usage is. My guess is dependency has a political ...
12
votes
3answers
15k 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?
12
votes
4answers
62k views

Bachelor thesis or Bachelor's thesis

During my final year at university, I wrote what I thought was a "bachelor thesis". Right before printing it I stumbled upon several documents stating the name "bachelor's thesis". (Here we do not ...
12
votes
3answers
7k views

Difference in usage of “regular”, “usual”, “ordinary”, “normal”, “common”

Sometimes it is obvious which of the following words to use, sometimes not: regular usual ordinary normal common For example: "regular coffee" (not usual, normal or ordinary) , "ordinary people" ...
11
votes
3answers
1k views

What's the difference between a “fen” and a “dale”?

What's the difference between a fen and a dale? Are these words used precisely at all? My question comes from Kipling’s poem The Spirit of England; if you'll notice, each couplet, plain and hill, ...
11
votes
3answers
11k views

Is there any difference between “color” and “colour”?

What is the difference between color and colour?
11
votes
4answers
50k views

Difference between “smart” and “clever”

What is the difference between smart and clever? As far as I understand the latter is offensive. But the Cambrige Dictionary gives similar definitions of smart and clever.
11
votes
4answers
32k views

What's the difference between “yet another” and “another”?

What's the difference between yet another and another?
11
votes
3answers
14k views

“I am on it” vs. “I am at it”

What are the differences between I am on it and I am at it? What does the latter mean? I found the definition of the former on Urban Dictionary and understand that it means I'm going to solve it ...
11
votes
5answers
6k views

Difference between “garbage” and “trash”?

What's the difference between garbage and trash? Is the difference significant?
11
votes
6answers
3k views

Can “crepuscular” and/or “twilight” apply to morning half-light as well as in the evening

I know that's "sorta" two questions in one, but I'm stuck in an argument with a guy who says both words can apply to morning half-light. I disagree and think both only apply in the evening. I think ...
11
votes
6answers
11k views

What is the difference between “citizen” and “denizen”

Citizen: 1. A legally recognized subject ornational of a state or commonwealth, either native or naturalized. 2. An inhabitant of a particular town or city. Denizen: 1. An inhabitant or occupant of a ...
11
votes
6answers
159k 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.
11
votes
3answers
3k views

Is there a difference between “eatable” and “edible”?

I thought only edible was correct, even Google suggested edible when I did a search to see which one was more popular on the internet: Edible: 17.2 million Eatable: 2.2 million The first results ...
11
votes
4answers
1k views

Are “smell like” and “smell of” the same?

Is there any difference between smell like and smell of? I came across this sentence in the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary: My hands smell like (US) / of (UK) onion. But I'm not really ...
11
votes
4answers
21k 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
4answers
5k 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?
11
votes
3answers
8k views

What's the difference between a murder and an assassination? [closed]

I am unsure what the technical difference is between a murder and an assassination. Instinctively I feel it's to do with the victim - perhaps their fame? Royalty? What is the distinction between the ...
11
votes
4answers
9k views

“Baggage” versus “luggage”

I have the feeling that luggage is more closely associated with vacation travel, whereas baggage is for general transportation. Or... are they just exact synonyms?
11
votes
3answers
3k views

Why is “a couple of <things>” often shortened to “a couple <things>”?

I would write a couple of . I often read/hear a couple . I assumed this was an American English thing (I'm British), and just a convenient shortening of the phrase for speaking. It's easier to say a ...
11
votes
3answers
12k 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.
11
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5answers
14k views

What's the difference between “these” and “those”?

First of all, I'm not a native English speaker, but in school I learned that these is used if referring to something near, and those is used when referring to something far away (temporally or ...
11
votes
1answer
67k views

Difference between “zeros” and “zeroes” [duplicate]

Are there any differences between “zeros” and “zeroes”? Is any of them more correct, more often used, more modern? Are there differences e.g. between British English and American English in the usage ...
11
votes
4answers
30k views

“I like to do (be) something” vs “I like doing (being) something”

This is what I read in an answer to a previous question: Verbs Followed by Either Gerund or Infinitive Sometimes the meaning changes according to the verb used. <…> (dis)like ...
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votes
4answers
11k views

“Postpone”, “delay” and “defer”

I'm Russian and in the Russian language we use one word if we want to say that something will happen later than it has been planned. So usually I have difficulty in choosing a proper word among ...
11
votes
3answers
20k 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?
11
votes
4answers
53k views

Semantic difference between “engine” and “motor” [closed]

Is there a semantic difference between engine and motor? In some cases, would the use of one or the other word be technically incorrect?
11
votes
5answers
53k views

What is the difference between “speaking” and “talking”?

It seems more politically correct to say that someone is speaking rather than talking. What is the definitive difference between these terms?
11
votes
3answers
30k 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 ...
11
votes
3answers
19k views

Difference between “choose” and “select”

These two words are often used interchangeably and the greatest difference I can find between the two is "choose" for choosing multiple items from a set, and "select" for selecting a single item from ...
11
votes
5answers
49k views

What is the difference between “by contrast” and “in contrast?”

Can anyone explain the difference between by contrast and in contrast?
11
votes
8answers
25k views

“Experienced” vs. “seasoned”

Are these two words interchangeable? According to the Oxford dictionary, experienced means having knowledge or skill in a particular job or activity, while seasoned having a lot of experience in a ...
11
votes
3answers
17k views

Difference between “packet”, “parcel” and “package”

The definition on OALD is identical for parcel and packet. parcel (especially British English) (North American English usually package) something that is wrapped in paper or put into a thick ...