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

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12
votes
6answers
120k 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 ...
12
votes
9answers
8k 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, ...
10
votes
3answers
7k 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
9k 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
24k views

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

What is the difference between metaphorical, allegorical, and figurative?
9
votes
5answers
4k views

Difference between “laconic” and “concise”?

Those two words both seem to be about using a few words/a few steps to do something.
9
votes
3answers
12k 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
14k views

What's the difference between “egotism” and “egoism”?

I am interested in the difference between these to seemingly synonymous terms.
8
votes
5answers
34k views

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

Can anyone explain the difference between by contrast and in contrast?
7
votes
2answers
7k views

Difference between “partly” and “partially”

What is the difference between partly and partially? An example of usage for each word would be great.
7
votes
3answers
11k views

What's the difference between “day” and “date”?

Day may refer to: the day of the week (e.g., Monday, Tuesday); the day of the month (e.g, 2nd day of February); a unit of time (e.g., this task would take 2 days to complete). A date on the other ...
6
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
6
votes
5answers
18k 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
4k 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
540 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
3answers
3k views

can't have been vs. couldn't have been

I don't understand when and why to use can't have been. It seems so strange to me.
2
votes
5answers
974 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
41k 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
2k 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 ...
15
votes
2answers
2k views

Does the word, ‘peruse’ have a single meaning of ‘attentive reading,’ or double, contradicting meanings of ‘attentive’ and ‘cursory’ reading?

I’m confused to find opposite definitions in the same word, ‘peruse’ in Readers English Japanese Dictionary published by a leading foreign language dictionary publisher in Japan. It defines ‘peruse’ ...
14
votes
6answers
13k 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.
14
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
10k 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
14k 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
15k 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
2k 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
7k 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
26k 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
646 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
339 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
379 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
511 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
196 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
420 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
8k views

“Cut into halves” vs. “cut in half”

It’s easy to cut a rectangle into halves. This will cut both rectangles in half. What is the difference between halves and half? There are two answers, and it’s best to get both. "It’s ...
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
12k 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
3answers
2k 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
863 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 ...