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

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5answers
4k views

What is the difference between “horrify” and “terrify”?

When would I use one, versus using the other?
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4answers
46k 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 ...
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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?
4
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3answers
20k 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?
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4answers
19k views

what is the difference between the words “tall” and “high”?

Are there any differences between the words "tall" and "high" ? For instance, tall building and high building I'm not sure what are the differences between them.
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2answers
8k 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? ...
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4answers
8k 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? ...
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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 ...
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3answers
11k 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.
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3answers
4k views

Difference between control and manage?

They seem to function the same. Manage is even "control in action or use" according to http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/manage. Control is a verb so isn't that in action as well? Thus, is it the ...
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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 ...
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1answer
327 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 ...
15
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7answers
7k 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.", ...
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3answers
1k views

“Inter-”, “multi-”, “cross-”, “trans-” in relation to disciplines

In academia the words inter-discipline, multi-discipline, trans-discipline, or cross-discipline are used to describe a type of combination between different disciplines or the uniqueness of a field. ...
8
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5answers
12k 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
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5answers
5k 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
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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
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3answers
8k 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
5answers
381 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 ...
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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.
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1answer
2k 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 ...
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3answers
14k views

How is “I have come” + infinitive different from Present Perfect?

Consider the following examples: I have noticed that a lot of people are switching to Unity. vs. I have come to notice that a lot of people are switching to Unity. or: The Saddam I have ...
5
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4answers
11k 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
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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.
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5answers
492 views

Whats the connotation of 'makeshift'? Is it negative, neutral, or positive like: creative?

I'm curious what the association(s) are with the word 'makeshift"
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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?
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8answers
10k 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"?
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1answer
4k views

Difference between “therapy” and “treatment”

What is the difference between therapy and treatment?
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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 ...
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2answers
1k views

“I live on beans and rice” vs. “I live off beans and rice”

I wanted to refocus a related question on ell.se. towards a possible deeper and direct relationship to "on vs. off". Consider the following two phrases: I live off beans and rice. (Approx 94,000 ...
3
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3answers
245k views

Difference Between “Sell” and “Sale”?

I'm a copy editor at a law firm and need to give a quick-and-dirty explanation of the difference between "sell" and "sale" to a native English speaker (a legal secretary) who is very self-conscious ...
3
votes
2answers
10k views

Is there any difference between “has gone” and “went” in this context?

Is there any difference between these two sentences? Mirek went to Europe on business. Mirek has gone to Europe on business.
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5answers
685 views

“Authoring” versus “Writing”

In my area of work the word author as a verb has become quite common. However, it seems to have a subtly different meaning than plain vanilla write. For example, one does not write software unit ...
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votes
6answers
2k views

Can you call someone who chooses to quit his/her study in college an alumnus?

Oxford Dictionary of English on alumnus: a male former pupil or student of a particular school, college, or university Oxford Dictionary of English on dropout: a person who has abandoned a ...
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3answers
1k views

Difference between “personal goals” and “Long/short-term objectives”

I've been asked by my employer to complete a "performance review". Within the context of my role at the company, it asks me for my "Long and Short Term Objectives" and my "Personal Goals". ...
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3answers
4k views

“Approve (of),” “assent,” “consent,” and “grant”

I wonder if there is any difference in using approve (of), assent, consent, and grant as verbs. Can anyone help?
3
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1answer
3k views

“Pending” vs “Impending”. Are they synonyms?

They appear to me to mean almost if not exactly the same thing, but I am not sure. Are there differences in meaning between them?
3
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2answers
2k views

“How deep” or “How deeply”?

In the sentence: How deep or deeply should I study something? Which of the two is more appropriate?
2
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2answers
15k views

“Nervous” vs. “anxious”

Are these words interchangeable? When would you use one over the other? For example, is it correct to say you "feel nervous" or "feel anxious"? Is it correct to say you are an "anxious person" or a ...
2
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4answers
586 views

Conjunction Puzzle: Is this clause dependent or independent?

Third grade teacher here. I plan to teach students to distinguish between simple, compound and complex sentences — but only if I can demonstrate a clear and meaningful difference between the latter ...
2
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4answers
13k views

How do hyphens modify the meaning of “n-month-old”?

I see three different ways of hyphenating the phrase "six month old". Six-month old: A six-month old poses with a machine gun owned by supporters of the Free Syrian Army. Six-month-old: ...
2
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4answers
24k views

Difference between “unto” and “to”

What are the differences between "unto" and "to"? It seems that in many contexts where the word "unto" is used, "to" could be substituted and would be perfectly correct. It reminds me of ...
2
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2answers
2k views

“To be elected chairman” vs. “to be elected the chairman”

I have a question regarding the correct use of the definite article "the": One of my books says: Definite article the is used before nouns denoting a position that can be held by one person ...
2
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2answers
5k views

Differences between “vulgar” and “coarse”, “crass”, “crude”, “rough”, “rude”, “unrefined” as applied to language

This question specifically covers how these terms are used to describe language, it is a followup to What's the difference between "informal", "colloquial", "slang", ...
2
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3answers
13k views

What is the difference, if any, between 'art', 'the arts', and 'Art'?

In answer to this question, there was some discussion about whether these two sentences are equivalent: Art nurtures the soul. The arts nurture the soul. Are they equivalent? 'The arts' is ...
2
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3answers
145k views

What is the difference between 'curricula' and 'curriculum'?

What is the difference between 'curricula' and 'curriculum'? Both appear to have the same definition. Are they used in the same context?
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2answers
852 views

Why is there “Black English” but not “White English”?

African American Vernacular English is shortened to a less precise phrase "Black English". Also, Black English is used in a broader sense: Black English is a term used for both dialects of English ...
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vote
2answers
988 views

Where is the word “cutlery” in common usage

During a trip to the US I realised that many Americans have never heard the word cutlery before ... however some have. Where in the English speaking world (and in particular where in the US) is this ...
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5answers
20k views

Difference in meaning: “would have had to be” vs “would have had to have been”

Being a non native speaker, I cannot spot the difference here: He would have had to have been there. He would have had to be there. The only thing that comes to my mind is that in the first case, ...