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

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6
votes
5answers
16k views

Difference between “accountability” and “responsibility”

I've looked them up in many dictionaries, it seems the two words have the same meaning, right? I don't know when we use each of them properly.
6
votes
6answers
3k views

“Solution to” vs. “solution of ”

What is the difference between saying solution to the problem and saying solution of the problem? Are they both equivalent, or is there some difference?
4
votes
1answer
1k views

Difference between 'decided on' and 'decided to'?

Examples: I have decided on a blue carpet for the bedroom. I have decided to emigrate to Australia. What exactly is the difference between "decided on" and "decided to"? Is the usage simply based on ...
3
votes
4answers
531 views

Past conditional statements

What is the difference between the following two statements? If I went home for dinner, I took a glass of soft drink. If I went home for dinner, I would take a glass of soft drink. Are both ...
2
votes
5answers
950 views

How does “among” vs “between” affect the meaning of this sentence from the Times?

I realize that this has been discussed elsewhere on the site, but I was interested in the use of the preposition "among" in a sentence from a story in yesterday's New York Times: Research done by ...
26
votes
8answers
39k views

Distinction: “What can I do you for?” vs. “What can I do for you?”

Usually, when being served the phrase "What can I do for you?" is used but sometimes I also hear "What can I do you for?" in quite the same context. So is there a difference or is it just a slip of ...
18
votes
5answers
1k views

“Infer” vs. “imply” — can “infer” imply “imply”?

Okay that's a crazy title, but bear with me. Got into a good natured discussion with someone on another stack exchange site, and I was "correcting" him on the use of infer vs. imply. (The ...
16
votes
7answers
9k 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 ...
14
votes
6answers
12k views

What is the difference between “Gay” and “Homosexual"? Is it only by gender?

I was interested in the line “...most Americans use the word 'gay' now instead of 'homosexual'” in Maureen Dowd’s article titled “Happily Never After?” in today’s (April 2) New York Times: I’m ...
14
votes
5answers
2k views

The difference between “take” and “last”

We say: "the meeting will last two hours". But we say: "how long does the flight take?" Please let me know the difference between last and take and when we should use each.
12
votes
3answers
7k views

Is there a difference between “leading edge” and “bleeding edge”?

It seems to me that "leading edge" is the more established phrase, while "bleeding edge" is basically the same thing but the user has adapted the phrase for extra (rather meaningless) emphasis. Or is ...
12
votes
5answers
2k 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 ...
10
votes
8answers
9k 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
17answers
12k 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
4answers
14k 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?
9
votes
3answers
2k 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
1k views

Differences between “tutorial”, “guide” and “how-to”

The categorization on Android Wiki looks pretty arbitrary and redundant to me contemplating the single articles in the categories. In every one you find a tutorial, guide and how-to on for example How ...
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
3k 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
6k 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
2answers
25k views

“leave to” or “leave for”

Which of the following is correct? I am leaving for London. I am leaving to London. I have always thought the first one is correct till I came across the name of this painting.
5
votes
4answers
625 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
323 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
357 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
11k 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
2k 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
493 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
2k 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
189 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
7k 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
11k 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
407 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
2answers
818 views

“Don't know what the name is” vs. “Don't know what it's called”

What is the difference between saying: A: Which meal do you want, Sir? B: Number 4. I don't know what the name is. A: Which meal do you want, Sir? B: Number 4. I don't know what it's ...
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
973 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".
0
votes
3answers
122 views

“Skyscrapers are of various shapes” vs. “skyscrapers are various shapes”

Skyscrapers are of various shapes. Skyscrapers are various shapes. Why do we use of in the sentence above? Is there any difference in meaning between the two sentences?
18
votes
4answers
15k views

Difference between “ability” and “capability”

What is the difference in usage between ability and capability?
13
votes
2answers
714 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
3k 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.", ...
11
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 ...
10
votes
3answers
3k views

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

What's the difference between "rock" and "stone"?
9
votes
1answer
28k 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
622 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 ...
8
votes
4answers
50k views

Difference between “selfish” and “self-centered”

Is there a difference between the meaning of selfish and self-centered? I have seen some using them identically. If there is a difference who would you like to hang out with: a selfish person or a ...
8
votes
4answers
616 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
18k views

What's the difference between “cardinal” and “ordinal” as adjectives?

What's the difference between describing a number or place as cardinal versus ordinal? They both seem to have to do with the order of things. For example, when saying "He is the first in his class", ...