I think training mostly refers to the physical related process as it used frequently in sport context, however I found instances in which verb teaching is used in such situations. Am I right? and is there any substantial difference between them.

Merriam-Webster says:

Train : to teach (someone) the skills needed to do something (such as a job), to give instruction to (someone)


Teach : to cause or help (a person or animal) to learn how to do something by giving lessons, showing how it is done, etc.

Based on the M-W definition, the movie "How to train your dragon" could be retitled as "How to teach your dragon".

As another example, in the following sentence:

Select the methods for implementation. - Study how to implement a selected machine learning method to teach soccer player an individual skill.

I think it would be better to use train instead of teach.

And one more example in a different direction :

...research shows a connection between the missing penmanship discipline and the failure to train the brain for impulse control.

Any idea on how to use them properly?

  • 2
    Taining focuses on skill ; the definitions imply a narrower focus than teaching and possibly a shorter timeframe. We might associate training with the notion of exercises that we repeat until we "get" the skills we are trying to acquire - until they become almost second nature. The definitions for teaching, in contrast, imply deeper knowledge and a longer timeframe. We often hear the term "lifelong learning," but I can't recall ever hearing about "lifelong training." Teaching versus training: ibm.com/developerworks/rational/library/3810.html
    – user66974
    Jun 6, 2015 at 12:22

4 Answers 4


Usage of the second object differs:

  • You teach a soccer player an individual skill.

  • You train a soccer player in a skill. (You can't train someone a skill)

If you don't use the second object, both sentences are valid, but mean slightly different things. To train someone is more involved than to teach someone.

From vocabulary.com:


To teach is to transfer ideas or skills to another person. As an old saying goes, "Give someone a fish, they eat for a day, teach someone to fish and they eat for a lifetime." I hope they like seafood.

The Old English word tǣcan, which became the Middle English techen, meant "to show or point out." But the Old English also had another word for teach — læran — which eventually became the modern "learn," with the current meaning of receiving knowledge rather than giving it.


To train means to teach a skill. If you train your cat to use the toilet, your family will be amazed.

You can train animals to perform in a circus or roll over, and you can train people to do things like program computers or use an espresso machine. When you instruct someone how to do a task, you train him or her.

  • There can be teaching in training but not vice versa?
    – 4-K
    Jun 6, 2015 at 13:43
  • @Mrstupid:: If there's training in teaching, they'd just call it training.
    – Tushar Raj
    Jun 6, 2015 at 13:44
  • that makes sense.
    – 4-K
    Jun 6, 2015 at 13:45
  • In fact they mostly call it 'teacher training'. Presumably there is 'trainer training' as well, but I have not come across it. Jun 6, 2015 at 16:21

I often find myself in a position where I am required to train a new employee. (I have several different fields of expertise, so this method is pretty universal.)

I begin by teaching: Exposing the person to various products/tools/equipment that will be utilized, and imparting my knowledge of them. (I will demonstrate.)

The training part, is guiding the person in their attempts to become proficient with the aspects I have presented to them. (Now, they must get their own hands dirty.)


Teaching is an act by which you make people understand new things. You can teach a kid the high school math. By teaching you introduce people to things. You convey what you actually know to the other.

By Training, you make people capable of doing what you can do and people can't/struggled to an extent to do initially.

Teaching may be perceived as, something you explain to the other person. And by Training you train or make people do it themselves


You can teach a fact or a skill, but you cannot train one. Likewise, you can attend training, but you can't attend teaching.

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