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I've looked through the definitions of kudos and props:

According to Cambridge Dictionary, the definition of kudos is the public admiration that a person receives as a result of a particular achievement or position in society, whilst props means respect for someone.

So, "kudos" connotes approval and admiration, and "props" implies respect.

However, I'm wondering if there are any cases in which one of them are fine to employ while the other would be inappropriate or wrong to use in the same sentence.

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    I doubt there's a dime's worth of difference between the two beyond the fact that "props" is more colloquial. – Robusto Mar 19 '19 at 19:12
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    I've never heard this in the UK. The Cambridge dictionary says it's mainly used in the US. I would agree with them. – BoldBen Mar 19 '19 at 19:23
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    Props. I've never heard the word used in this context. – Kate Bunting Mar 19 '19 at 19:47
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    I'm British living in the US - Props is colloquially used here, yes. It's very colloquial, and set a distinctly casual tone to whatever it's injected into; equally, in the US, kudos is rarely used colloquially (though I use it) and pushes up the register wherever it's used, probably because it implies both multilingualism and a familiarity with classical education. – GerardFalla Mar 19 '19 at 20:18
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    @GerardFalla I disagree very much with your assessment of kudos. I was quite surprised when I first looked up the word to discover that it was Greek, because I’d only ever heard it used very colloquially. I certainly never associated it with education or multilingualism. It’s like when I discovered that the colloquial expression I’d always thought of as bonified or something like that was actually Latin and spelt bona fide – very surprised! – Janus Bahs Jacquet Mar 19 '19 at 22:36
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The main difference is in how formal it comes across.

"Kudos" is considered a 'real' word while "props" is considered slang but neither are very formal.https://www.etymonline.com/word/kudos

"Kudos", usually used as an interjection like 'congratulations', comes from UK university slang, which means by now it is fairly formal. For example:

Kudos! Your excellent presentation to the CEO will really have you climbing the org chart!

"Props", short for 'proper respects', comes from US hip hop slang, so it is more easily recognized there than in the UK.

Gotta give props to that kid for that stunt. When does he get out of the hospital?

As someone on reddit said:

"Props is for friends, kudos is for work."

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  • reditor? can you give a link? – Mitch Mar 19 '19 at 23:45
  • @Mitch Here it is: reddit.com/r/NoStupidQuestions/comments/77l9ve/props_vs_kudos/… – Mike Mar 20 '19 at 17:44
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    Full disclosure: 'kudos' is on my personal list of 'cringe-worthy words'. There was also a candy bar named Kudos a while ago. Nothing about that word seems right to me. – Mitch Mar 21 '19 at 13:15
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    BTW, props sometimes implies support (social support, like keep up the good work). – KannE Mar 21 '19 at 14:53
  • @Mitch If you're going to change my answer that much you might as well post a new answer ;) – Mike Mar 21 '19 at 22:14
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Here are some cases which fulfill your criteria of providing examples in which one word would be appropriate and the other would not. The degree of inappropriateness is not absolute but I still think these are good examples.

In the following paragraph I am using both the word "kudos" and "props." I believe that interchanging the two words change the meaning of the paragraph. Thus, both the sentence that contains "kudos" and the sentence that contains "props" are examples of sentences in which it is correct to use one but not the other.

"Jim knows how to present his work in a way that makes it seem to be great. He wins the productivity awards every time. But, we all know that his work is insubstantial and shaky. Someone else generally has to redo what he has done when we notice that it's starting to fall apart. Bob, on the other hand, is the best worker in our firm. He not only does all of his work flawlessly, he picks up the slack for everyone else, especially for Jim. I guess that's life. Jim gets the kudos from the higher-ups. Bob must be content with our sincere props."

In the above paragraph, interchanging props and kudos would give an inappropriate meaning. It sill would be grammatically correct, of course. But I think that meaning is the issue here.

But, can I do it without using multiple sentences to set it up? How about the following?

"Jim is a sociopathic sycophant who has figured out how to get all the kudos and bonuses from our out-of touch management while Jim, the most diligent and effective worker in the group, must be content with the sincere props of his closest colleagues."

In the first phrase of that sentence, the fact that I said "out-of-touch" management makes it hard to believe that management could actually have respect for Jim. The statement implies that they are responding to superficial things. So "props" would be a bad fit. In the last portion, the word "sincere" is a more appropriate adjective for "props" (sincere respect) than for "kudos", though you could have sincere public admiration or sincere praise. But by mentioning the "closest colleagues" I am implying that this is not public. The word "props" in that sentence implies a more personal feeling as opposed to public admiration. So, interchanging either word in that sentence would significantly alter the meaning.

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