I have this sentence:

In India analysts attributed high cost of Apple's devices to be a major deterrent to sales of iPhone that completes with android based smartphones.

My question is why can't I use hindrance in the above sentence in place of deterrent because hindrance also means a factor causing trouble in achieving a positive result or tending to produce a negative result as indicated below:

Hindrance: a thing that provides resistance, delay, or obstruction to something or someone: 'a hindrance to the development process'

[Oxford Online Dictionary]

  • 1
    Welcome to ELU. As this is a site dealing with English, would you mind editing your question to punctuate your sentences and capitalise your words appropriately? Regarding multiple questions, this site's convention is to ask a separate question separately. (I see that Rathony has done both for you in the time it took me to write this comment. :) )
    – Lawrence
    Commented Jul 18, 2016 at 9:12
  • Welcome to English Language and Usage. This site is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. and please check typos when you post a question. Also, one question per post is the guideline of Stack Exchange and I deleted your second question. If you need to ask it, please post another question, but you have to show your own research efforts.
    – user140086
    Commented Jul 18, 2016 at 9:12
  • @Lawrence I am that kind. :-)
    – user140086
    Commented Jul 18, 2016 at 9:12
  • 3
    Hindrance and deterrent are both somewhat 'off' in this context. You might want to try something like detraction from sales instead. If used figuratively, both hindrance and deterrent can work. To hinder a sale is to tend to prevent the sale from completing. To deter it is to tend to prevent the sales process (for that customer) from even starting.
    – Lawrence
    Commented Jul 18, 2016 at 9:15
  • 1
    What @Lawrence said. But note that deter more strongly implies someone deliberately trying to stop something (which may or may not have already started), whereas hinder tends to apply to circumstances (often no more "volitional" than the forces of nature or happenstance) which make it difficult for an already-started process to continue. Commented Jul 18, 2016 at 12:32

2 Answers 2


From the definitions it is clear that a deterrent affects the desire or intention of someone to take a given course of action while a hindrance makes it more difficult for someone to actually follow a course of action already chosen.

In the case of the smartphones the higher price deters customers from choosing to seek out an iPhone so is appropriate in the given context. An example of a hindrance to the sale would be a restricted network of dealerships selling the product making it physically difficult to obtain one.

The deterrent or hindrance would only affect one purchase decision at a time but the cumulative effect over many decisions would be to restrict sales of the affected product.


They have overlapping meanings, but are not equal.

A clear definition of deterrent is: "a thing that discourages or is intended to discourage someone from doing something"

So deterrent is a good word in the sample sentence, since it means "the high cost of Apple's devices makes it less likely for people to buy iPhones"

Hindrance says "this causes a delay or resistance", but it does not address whether that resistance has the actual result of discouraging activity.

All deterrents hinder, but not all hindrances deter.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.