The dictionary says Facilitate means ease and I have seen many people using facilitate easy operation, facilitate easy learning etc. What is the correct usage??

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    Facilitate's, in the sense of, '[makes for] easy operation' is an acceptable redundancy in this case. – user98990 Jan 16 '15 at 7:47
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    facilitate is often abused as a long word for enable, in which case it's not so redundant. – Barmar Jan 16 '15 at 19:06
  • +1 @Barmar - yes, and 'makes for,' and 'allows for,' (both rather antiquated) are cognate with enable. Good point. – user98990 Jan 18 '15 at 6:16

I agree with Larry Terrell. "Facilitate easy learning" is redundant. "Facilitate learning" would work, as would "make learning easy." "Enable easy learning" mixes registers, as "enable" is a lot more formal than "easy" but there's no redundancy in it. I personally would choose "Facilitate learning" in a formal text, or "make learning easy" if I were aiming for simplified English (sometimes called plain speech).


One more detailed definition gives:

  1. To make easy or easier.
  2. To help bring about
  3. To preside over (a meeting, a seminar)

It's easier to see how "help bring about easy learning" works than "ease easy learning".

There are other dictionaries that give even more detailed definitions than that.

Still, as a tool to understanding, a dictionary that only listed ease can still be enough here.

Say we want easy learning. That's a goal we need to get to, so we want something to help us get there; we want something that eases easy learning.

There isn't a redundancy or repetition; the ease of the verb (what it does) and the easy of the object (what we want) are not the same easy.

It is a repetition in that it repeats two words that mean the same thing, albeit in places where they do different things, which while it isn't logically wrong does still sound silly, but then that's a reason in itself to use facilitate instead of ease.

In all both "facilitate learning" (help learning happen) and "facilitate easy learning" (help learning happen and be easy) make sense. Either way they refer to easing the process of something happening, but they differ as to whether that thing itself is easy.


There is an undeniable sense of redundancy in "facilitate easy learning", since "facilitate" already carries the idea of making something easier. It's a bit like "learning from past experience". Is there any other kind? Could you "facilitate difficult learning"?

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