So I am taking some english lessons on grammar and vocabulary and the teacher said that there was a difference between the meaning of travelling and commuting. He did explain it but I can't seem to remember it now and even when I did hear it, couldnt understand it properly. Could someone kindly help me out with this.


Commuting is a special kind of traveling. You do it regularly in order to get back and forth to school, to your job, or to your family.

Think of a commuter train. Such a train picks passengers up in the morning in the outskirts of the city, has no runs between approximately 10 am and 3 pm, and then starts delivering passengers back to the outskirts again starting around 4 pm.

This is related to the commutative law of addition -- a + b = b + a. a and b trade places! When you commute to work, you just go back and forth between points A and B, over and over again. This is a boring kind of traveling.

When someone says, "I like to travel," they are imagining going to A, B, C, D, E -- and this is not boring!

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Since this pertains to the 'travel' sense of the words -- because the comparison is between travel and commute -- I am not looking at the other meaning of the word commute from the legal domain.

So, IMO: To commute means to travel locally in a city or town. To travel means to go from one city or town to another. It's as simple as that.

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  • Your definition of commute in terms of travel isn't wrong, but then conflicts with your definition of travel (which is too narrow). – Chris H Feb 19 '17 at 11:40

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