Which is the right one and why:

Sample Context: I'm having the exam next week

I have to prepare Vs. I have to be prepared

Here, I'm expecting the meaning of these sentences, and in which situation they can be used [to prepare Vs. to be prepared when talking about the 1st person].

  • 2
    Either works. It depends on what you mean.
    – Robusto
    Oct 21, 2020 at 2:18
  • I have to prepare is like I have to prepare myself. I have to be prepared', here should mean, I have to be ready. both are similar in sense, I think.
    – Ram Pillai
    Oct 21, 2020 at 4:28
  • 3
    Both are good. to prepare is about your activity before the exam; to be prepared is about your state at the time of the exam. Oct 21, 2020 at 4:39

1 Answer 1


Given the sample context I would say: Before the exam you have to prepare for it. During the exam you have to be prepared in order to get a good score.

I have to prepare for the exam because in order to get a good score I have to be prepared.

So, "have to prepare" is an action that happens before the time you need to do a test or an exam. You have to prepare for the soccer game otherwise you aren't going to play well.

While "have to be prepared" is something that happens after some preparation in order to avoid problems in case something goes wrong. Example: you have to be prepared if you want to leave your parents house, because you'll need a way to pay for your rent.

  • Hello, Geovani. Please check at the Help Center, and read several other questions, to get an awareness of the standard of questions desired on ELU. Here, the issues are verb vs adjective choice / usage, and (in the background) the adjective ... verb continuum (prepare//get prepared/ready ... be prepared/ready) and intransitivity / covert reflexiveness. Covered here before. Oct 21, 2020 at 10:33
  • @EdwinAshworth, I didn't ask the question. I have read the Help Center and it doesn't have an explanation about the best way to answer the questions, so I answered according to what I have seen from other Q&A. But I will take some notes about how to answer based on other people with good reputation. Thanks. Oct 22, 2020 at 15:26
  • Note that this question has been closed. The surface question ('I have to prepare for the exam' / 'I have to be prepared for the exam' Which is correct? (!!) What does each mean?) is too basic for ELU. The deeper issue, that 'be broken' say may be a passive punctive usage or a stative adjectival usage, has been covered here before. Oct 22, 2020 at 15:42

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