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This is what I have gathered from the dictionary and a few other websites:

entry: the act of entering, in a more formal way

entrance: the act of entering; a gate/door, etc

admittance: permission to enter a place,institution, etc

admission: the act of accepting sb into an institution, organisation,etc; the fee paid for entrance

But I'm still confused by a few sentences involving 'admission' and 'admittance'. According to the definitions above, are the two words inter-changeable in the following contexts?

  • You cannot just go into the club as admission is restricted to members only.
  • To go into a foreign country, one usually needs to have an admission visa.
  • Admittance to school depends on places available.

Similarly, for the following uses of 'entry' and 'entrance', I feel most of them are inter-changeable, too:

  • The burglars force an entry into the rich man's house.
  • He refused me entrance to his house.
  • The headmaster's sudden entrance frightened the pupils.
  • The villain makes his entrance in Scene III.
  • The entrance of the pop star was greeted with shouts and screams.
  • One is usually not allowed entrance to a room where dangerous things are to be found.
  • There are signs saying 'No Entrance' everywhere.
  • The refugees were not granted entry to any country.

Can anyone tell me whether I am correct? Thanks in advance : )

1

I'm writing from what I've observed in my daily life; it may be wrong.

Entrance & admittance are used when physical or any other specific aspect of the act (of entering) is in focus.

Entry & admission are used in more conceptual or abstract sense. These are used in situations where the fact that the act has happened is more important than the how it happened.

Also,

Entry & entrance involves crossing/going in some kind of boundary or border.

Admission & admittance involves permitting/inclusion of someone/something into some kind of structure/system or a well defined region of space with specific purpose.

Now coming to the examples:

The burglars force an entry into the rich man's house.

Here the house would be the border. Entry is used because physical aspect of the act is not important. We are not talking about how or from where the burglars entered the house, the focus is on the fact that they managed to enter into the house.

Consider this example,

Engineers blasted upper portions of the granite slab, forming another entrance into the cave.

Here the physical aspect, a literal hole in the cave wall, is in focus.

He refused me entrance to his house.

It is better to use entry in this sentence, as it is less focused on the way and more focused on act of entering (or on not entering in this example).

You can also say,

He refused my entrance to his house.

Here more emphasis on your entrance. This makes it more specific and less abstract.

The headmaster's sudden entrance frightened the pupils.

Both words can be used here with slight change in focus, as no clear boundary is defined in this sentence. Using entrance makes us ask questions about the place (physical aspect of the boundary). It is an examination hall or a classroom perhaps? (entrance to where?)

Using entry arises more abstract questions about the ongoing state, like what is the previous state of pupils before they were frightened. Attentively listening to class or tensely waiting for their grades. (entry to which kind of situation?)

The villain makes his entrance in Scene III.

The entrance of the pop star was greeted with shouts and screams.

In these two examples the physical aspect is more important, like the background music/shouts or the abruptness of the scene change. Here the boundary is the existing scene/composition of the stage. Entrance is always used in these kind of situations.

One is usually not allowed entrance to a room where dangerous things are to be found.

As said in one of the earlier answers, 'admitted' should replace 'allowed entrance' in this sentence. A room containing dangerous things is not just a boundary, it is a complete system/space.

Entry to a room, where dangerous things are to be found, is not allowed.

This is a better version as entry and allowed are separated; room is more represented as a boundary. But I still support using admitted.

There are signs saying 'No Entrance' everywhere.

Use entry as it represents any kind of entering. A 'No Entry' sign discourages any kind of entry or the act of entering itself; it doesn't mention about the method of entrance or any other specific aspect of the action.

The old bridge has a sign reading "No Entrance to Heavy Trucks."

Here it is more focused. The sign cares about weight or heaviness (physical).

The refugees were not granted entry to any country.

Here, country is used a boundary, rather than a separate system. As it is mentioned in an abstract sense, entry can be used. See other variations:

The refugees were not granted entrance at St.Hans Bridge.

We are focussing on a specific place (which exists physically).

Admission of a refugee into government colleges is very difficult.

Admittance of a refugee to the president's swearing-in-ceremony is impossible.

Here we are referring to the venue where the ceremony is taking place (even though not stated explicitly).

One thing to note is the usage of admittance is decreasing recently. One reason may be because our systems are becoming more abstract with time. Physical buildings like the White House have far less significance in today's impression of a Government than a few centuries ago, when a physical objects like crown or throne were more important.

You cannot just go into the club as admission is restricted to members only.

I see no problem here. You should use entry if use club-hall or club building, instead of club (they are defined by borders).

To go into a foreign country, one usually needs to have an admission visa.

Here 'country' is generally treated as a border, so entry should be used. Admission can also be used if country is treated as a system, into which immigrants or visitors are supposed to get assimilated.

Admittance to school depends on places available.

Admission is more appropriate. School is defined as an abstract entity here. It is used in the meaning 'institution of education' rather than as the building in which teaching is done.

Admittance to Nuclear Control room needs an official id.

As N. Presley said above, admittance is better used only in the meaning of "authorization to physically enter a structure".

  • (1) What do you mean by “the physical or the rigid aspect” of admittance? (2) Is “tensley” a typo for “tensely”? (3) I suggest that you visually differentiate the words that you are mentioning, either by quote characters or font change. – Scott Sep 9 '18 at 0:53
  • @Scott Thanks for pointing out. Hopefully it is more clear now. – xax Sep 9 '18 at 5:42
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Entry:- it represents an action of going in somewhere(i.e., arrival). Example:- His sudden entry had shocked me.

Entrance:- it refers to something(like a door) through which we can go somewhere. Example:- Washroom entrance is here.

Admittance:- it refers to the act of giving permission(entry to a place) to someone. Example:- I got an admittance card(in a party).

Admission:- it may refers to an official process where people got admitted(being allowed) usually through money to somewhere. Example :- admissions are open (in a school)

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First, my personal take on usage the words are usable interchangeably - Entry and Admission mean more or less the same thing. Similarly Entrance and Admittance mean more or less the same thing.

The word "Admittance" was first used in 1536 to mean "The process or fact of entering or being allowed to enter a place or institution."

The meanings in the dictionaries - Oxford, Chambers, Collins and Merriam-Webster [dictionaries popular and widely used on both sides of the Atlantic] - are summarised below:

The process or fact of entering or being allowed to enter a place or institution.

A measure of electrical conduction, numerically equal to the reciprocal of the impedance. (in Physics).

Permission to enter a place.

The word Admission derives from Late Middle English: from Latin admissio(n- ), from the verb admittere.

The meanings are: The process or fact of entering or being allowed to enter a place or organization.

A statement acknowledging the truth of something.

Accepting.

Allowing in.

The fact that one of the popular meanings is same for both the words leads one to conclude that they can be interchanged mutually to mean the same thing.

Similarly the words Entry and Entrance. They are not synonyms.

the origin of the word "Entry" is from Middle English: from Old French entree, based on Latin intrata, feminine past participle of intrare.

"Entry" when used as a noun can mean any of the following (common usage):

An act of going or coming in.

An item written or printed in a diary, list, account book, or reference book.

Way in.

Entrance has the following meanings when used as a noun:

An opening, such as a door, passage, or gate, that allows access to a place.

An act or instance of entering somewhere.

"Entrance" can also be used as a Verb - then the pronounciation would be En - Trans meaning one of the following:

Fill (someone) with wonder and delight, holding their entire attention.

Cast a spell on.

To the extent the noun usage can mean the same thing they are synonymous, but "Entrance" used as a verb cannot be replaced by entry.

As already mentioned above the meanings, usage and word origin are from the dictionaries - Oxford, Chambers, Collins and Merriam-Webster [dictionaries popular and widely used on both sides of the Atlantic]

I hope this answer has been useful.

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First off, my throw-away purist opinion: 'admittance' can be relegated to electricity-talk and poeticals and stay relatively obscure among full sentences. It's awkward as a stand-in for any of this other common usage & jargon. (Even in ol' Blighty.) The exception, of course, being a sign saying "NO ADMITTANCE". (which is merely a more expensive way of conveying "NO ENTRY".) To a lesser degree, I'd suggest the same sort of thing with 'admission' being most relevant to [paying for] permission, and 'entrance' being most relevant to [passing into/onto] physical structures (e.g. cases where an exact synonym of the noun-form would be 'entryway'). If one is determined to buck trends (or attempt to propagate new ones), 'entry' is by far the most versatile of the four.

Second off, outside of idiosyncratic/picayune personal standards there is nothing really stopping you from treating all four of these as synonymous, especially if you spend a lot of time bantering with wordsmiths or otherwise like to turn a snappy/atypical phrase from time to time. The only emphasis I'd insist on is that the longer the word is, the less likely a randomly-selected English-as-first-and-only-language person is familiar with its usage.

As to the specific examples provided:

"You cannot just go into the club as admission is restricted to members only."

Fine. (Everything except 'entrance' would fit pretty smoothly here.)

To go into a foreign country, one usually needs to have an admission visa."

I vote no for both 'admission' and 'admittance' here. As far as I know (having crossed over a dozen international borders in the last 40-odd years), "entry" is the definitive standard/generic modifier for "visa". Since it can be argued that bureaucracy thrives by insisting on precise phrasing/terminology, I would raise an irritated eyebrow at the "but you know what I mean!" defense/excuse in this context. 'Admission' and 'admittance' are indeed words that are used from time to time in the explanatory passages of travel/immigration literature, but there is no need to directly apply it as an 'alternative' for this usage of 'entry'. To preserve the a-words, the sentence itself is easily reworded to "A[n entry] visa is required for _____ to a foreign country" or "You must be issued a[n entry] visa for ____ . . ."

"Admittance to school depends on places available."

I vote no. Aside from my opening qualifier, I have never known 'admittance' to be consistently applied to anything more nuanced than "authorization to physically enter a structure". There's no reason it should particularly confuse someone, but 'admission' makes more sense than any of the others here. 'Entrance' would be ordinary in the context of "entrance exams", but is otherwise most applicable to doorways and driveways.

"The burglars force an entry into the rich man's house."

Sure ... 'forced entrance' is a phrasing that gets used (and can't really mean anything different/confusing), but 'forced entry' is vastly more common.

"He refused me entrance to his house."

Sure. (On reflection, this is about as wide-open as the last one regarding refugees.)

"The headmaster's sudden entrance frightened the pupils."

Nothing wrong there - with that sentence alone, 'entrance' is more smooth as a reference to action, whereas "[his] entry" is commonly a more abstract connotation, as in "his entry in the contest".

"The villain makes his entrance in Scene III."
"The entrance of the pop star was greeted with shouts and screams."

'Enter' and 'entrance' are standard for stage/performance references; 'entry' just isn't. But I suspect only pedants or theatre-geeks like myself (or worse) would complain.

"One is usually not allowed entrance to a room where dangerous things are to be found."

Fine. Or, for economy of language we can replace "allowed entrance" with "admitted".

"There are signs saying 'No Entrance' everywhere." (See above.)

When the entire concept boils down to a two-word phrase, and one of those words is "no", all four are synonymous enough. (Unless you are at risk of confusing people looking for a visa application line or an admissions office, etc.)

"The refugees were not granted entry to any country."

With exactly that wording, you've found another instance where all four are at least vaguely acceptable - though I'd say 'admission' is the least apt, since it's more in line with buildings/events/amusement park rides.

  • 1
    Admission can also mean "something that has been admitted", eg "Her frank admission of infidelity left me speechless". – Max Williams Apr 10 '18 at 10:09
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"Entry" in the English language is generally tied to "way" as in "Entryway", thus the linkage is pre-supposed to refer to the initial act of of entering and the location of entering. "Entry" is merely the door by which there is an exit or entrance, also it refers to merely the act of entering- nothing else. Whereas with the word "entrance" we are signifying the whole visible spectacle, the story-line, of the act-by-act occurrences that proceeded- beginning with the actual entrance, and including the walking, the body-language, the mood of the one who has entered, the swiftness of speed or the slowness of entering, the clothes he is wearing, the attitude he has. This is where we get the designation "making an entrance". "Entrance" refers to the space in which entering occurs, but also includes the way that one enters, the attitude, and the accompanying accoutrements such as an entry hall, an entry table, an entry mirror, etc. All of these things in the environment establish what is the entrance.

When the villain makes his "entrance" onto the scene of the movie, we are referring not only to his "entering" the scene, but also, the movements he makes, the speed, the attitude, the clothing he wears, the facial expression he displays, and the surrounding scenery around him. When the villain "enters" the movie scene, he merely steps from outside of the camera lens' view into the the camera lens' view. Nothing else.

Admission refers to both the rules of acceptance and it is tied to some kind of monetary expense. Admittance refers to an allowable entrance pertaining to someone who is seeking a special request. This is not linked to money or cost. For example, you can get "admittance" into a parking garage for free if your ticket is validated, but for "admission" into a parking garage, you must pay a fine. For another example, A prospective college student can be "admitted" into the school but yet not enrolled, because they have not have yet completed their "admission" papers yet. "Admission" papers include paying money. Admittance only included being accepted into the school. Admittance into a school is similar to being accepted into a school, whereby no money has to be paid in order to be admitted.

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"entry" is a verb; as you wrote "the act of entering".
"entrance" is a noun, the name of a place where one enters.
It is not the act of entering, as you wrote.
"admittance" is a noun; as you wrote "permission to enter".
"admission" is a verb; as you wrote "the act of accepting".

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