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

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11
votes
5answers
89k views

Difference between “supposedly” and “supposably”

What is the difference between supposedly and supposably? Both are real words but seem to have confusingly similar definitions. Supposably: Capable of being supposed : conceivable ...
10
votes
6answers
7k 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?
9
votes
16answers
6k views

Difference between “game” and “sport”

Can any one tell me for meaning about the difference between game and sport in the broadest context possible? I mean, Magic: The Gathering tournament play is still a game, while hunting is ...
9
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...
8
votes
4answers
2k views

“Just” versus “simply”

To which extent is just interchangeable with simply, as in the example? It's becoming more than just annoying. It's becoming more than simply annoying. Is just synonym of simply in just any ...
6
votes
3answers
16k views

“Percent” vs. “percentile”

Just because .01% of people may be at risk of frying themselves on the third rail doesn't mean they need to modify the system for that miniscule percentile. It just means you need to let Darwinism ...
6
votes
1answer
3k 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 ...
6
votes
4answers
2k views

“Destiny” vs. “Fate”

I'm aware a search will turn up many discussions on the differences or interchangeability of these terms, but it would be good to get some answers here with an emphasis on the etymology of the two ...
5
votes
3answers
4k views

Homeland vs Motherland vs Fatherland

What is the distinction between homeland, motherland and fatherland? Is there any difference in meaning of such terms? When it comes to connotations are there any differences, except for the ...
5
votes
3answers
1k views

Froth, foam, lather or suds?

I know this topic is unlikely to pique any native speaker's curiosity, but bear with me, I am trying to learn the difference between froth, foam, lather and suds. I feel these terms are not always ...
5
votes
4answers
567 views

Has “utilise” lost its meaning in America?

My understanding is that "utilise" means to use an object for a task for which it was not intended. However, in American English, it seems that "utilize" is synonymous with "use", and it seems that ...
4
votes
3answers
271 views

What are the key difference among a liberal, liberalist and libertarian?

There was the following statement in Time magazine’s article (June 14) titled, “The geeks who leak” “Both Edward J. Snowden and Bradley Manning (who leaked massive volume of military and ...
4
votes
1answer
263 views

“Work” vs. “working” (noun)

What are the differences between work and working when used as nouns? For example: Advocates claim that work/working brings a lot of benefits for young people. Which one is correct? I have ...
4
votes
3answers
9k 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 ...
4
votes
5answers
1k views

Which thesaurus best describes the differences between several similar words? [closed]

Which thesaurus (online or paper) best describes the differences between several similar words? As a non-native English speaker, it is often difficult for me to distinguish the slightly different ...
4
votes
5answers
1k views

Difference in pronunciation between 'warship' and 'worship'?

I basically came these words across together in a text, and I was wondering whether or not they are pronounced the same way. 'War' is actually pronounced as 'wor', so I'm not entirely sure. ...
3
votes
2answers
436 views

Difference between “simplify” and “facilitate” [closed]

Are simplify and facilitate interchangeable? The Oxford dictionary defines them as: simplify: make (something) simpler or easier to do or understand facilitate: make (an action or process) ...
3
votes
5answers
1k views

Difference between “size” and “magnitude”

Following the comments to this answer to another question, what is the difference between size and magnitude? I know there's a difference, but can someone put it in a nutshell for me?
3
votes
2answers
175 views

Etymology of close |kləʊz| (klōz) & close |kləʊs| (klōs)

In doing research for the question Is it “close-minded” or “closed-minded”?, which was in turn prompted by the discussion under this answer to another question, I realized that some of the confusion ...
2
votes
2answers
5k 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 ...
2
votes
6answers
8k views

“In work” vs. “at work”

What is the difference between in work and at work? Does in work imply that the person is busy and immersed in his work? I am at work. He is in work.
1
vote
2answers
363 views

Can object complements make any difference to sentences?

I'm reading a grammar book, and I have some questions. A. We ate the fish raw. I want Sue drunk. I prefer the music soft. I like coffee black. We drank the beer cold. This type of ...
1
vote
3answers
1k views

“Endorse” vs. “condone”

What is the difference in meaning/connotation between the two words? Is endorse "stronger", more positive? Also, endorse is to endorsement as condone is to what? Is there a noun counterpart?
1
vote
4answers
4k views

Which is correct: “I am drinking ice cream” or “I am eating ice cream”?

Assuming there is no material in ice cream to be chewed, which is the correct sentence? I am drinking ice cream. I am eating ice cream.
1
vote
1answer
815 views

Difference between “kinds of books”, “kinds of book”, “kind of books”

I want to know the difference between the usage of "kinds of books", "kinds of book", and "kind of books".
18
votes
4answers
12k views

Difference between “ability” and “capability”

What is the difference in usage between ability and capability?
16
votes
4answers
18k 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 ...
13
votes
2answers
699 views

Is “so” more feminine than “very”?

Many Japanese textbooks of English mention the "feminine 'so'": the use of "so" for "very" is more typical of a feminine speaker. I don't think this is true in the US (I learned English living in ...
13
votes
5answers
2k views

“Writing things down” vs. “writing things up”

Is there any difference in the usage of "writing things down" vs. "writing things up"? Are they both correct?
12
votes
5answers
2k views

Difference between “commit suicide” and “suicide”

One of the examples in my English composition book (for learning to write my language's sentences in English) was "Why he committed suicide under such a good circumstance is an unsolved question.", ...
10
votes
3answers
3k views

What's the difference between “rock” and “stone”?

What's the difference between "rock" and "stone"?
9
votes
1answer
22k views

What is the difference between “in-between” and “between”?

Do in-between and between have different meanings? What is the difference between in-between and between?
9
votes
3answers
605 views

“I park my car in the yard”

What is the origin of the different pronunciation of words like park, yard, cartoon, margarine in American and British English? In other words, why doesn’t British English generally pronounce the r ...
9
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
8
votes
4answers
588 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.
8
votes
3answers
2k views

What is the difference between “onetime” and “one time”?

I was reading a book that had a sentence containing this: ...onetime commissioner of New York...
8
votes
5answers
5k views

Differences between “price point” and “price”

Apart from its use among the bean-counters who talk about maximising company profits, I can't understand why price point has spread so widely in popular American parlance. As far as I can tell, the ...
8
votes
3answers
20k views

Are there any differences between “oval” and “ellipse”?

Are there any differences between "oval" and "ellipse"?
8
votes
2answers
3k views

“Also” and “as well” for conversational context

"Also" and "as well" seem to be quite similar in meaning, but I'd like to know shades in its meaning and usage, especially for everyday conversational language. What one will sound more natural and ...
7
votes
1answer
167 views

Picked, perked or pricked up?

I hear and read these three words used in the same context in English, but is one of them more correct than the others? "The witch's cat picked up his ears" "Last year, when Mahmout heard that EGA ...
6
votes
2answers
611 views

“Come Hell or high water” vs “Lord willing and the creek don't rise”

Recently I've wondered about two idioms which have a strange relationship. Come Hell or high water and Lord willing and the creek don't rise Grammatical accuracy, alternative ...
6
votes
3answers
1k views

“Point to” and “point at”

I'm having trouble putting the difference in meaning between "point to" and "point at" into words and my Longman dictionary isn't helping, I'm afraid. I'm not a native speaker, but I feel there is a ...
6
votes
2answers
3k views

“Arrogant” vs. “conceited”

I'm a bit confused as to the difference between arrogant and conceited. From my understanding, arrogance is the equivalent of being confident and letting everyone know how great you are. For example, ...
6
votes
3answers
2k 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
2answers
242 views

“Practise the piano” vs. “practise medicine”

Someone who practises medicine is a professional. Someone who practises the piano is still learning. How have these two apparently opposite senses of the word practise arisen?
6
votes
6answers
22k views

Difference between a sweater and a sweatshirt

Many clothing websites use distinct categories for both sweaters and sweatshirts. But what is the difference?
6
votes
4answers
1k views

What's the difference between “lingo” and “jargon”?

To what extent, if any, do lingo and jargon differ?
6
votes
2answers
802 views

Are there any differences between “supernatural” and “paranormal”?

Are there any differences between "supernatural" and "paranormal"?
5
votes
2answers
165 views

Is “nowadays” the same as “today”?

When helping an Italian speaker with her written homework, a cover letter, I told her to change the expression nowadays to that of today. Her original sentence was the following: I would be ...
5
votes
1answer
1k views

“In 15 minutes” or “15 minutes later”?

Several years ago, when I was watching a show, it was 15:45 and the show started at 16:00. A foreigner asked me: "When will this show start?" My English is not good, and I never talked to foreigners. ...