What is the difference between focus and concentration in the following context?

High-flow activities require focus and concentration; your mind is actively engaged in what you are doing.

  • In what context? – user16269 Aug 21 '12 at 12:52
  • the context: High-flow activities require focus and concentration; your mind is actively engaged in what you are doing. – Shakiba r.abadi Aug 21 '12 at 12:59
  • I'm new comer in this site.sorry,I don't know some rules. – Shakiba r.abadi Aug 21 '12 at 13:00
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    Hi Shakiba. You should go to a dictionary site, like Oxford Dictionaries Online and look up both words. That should show the differences to you. If you still are unsure, come back and edit your question explaining how the research you have done has left you unsure. Be sure to explain what it is about the definitions that has created this confusion. Happy searching! – Matt E. Эллен Aug 21 '12 at 13:08
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    @Kris - I doubt that. You can't concentrate your camera, and you don't dilute your focus with water. – Matt E. Эллен Aug 21 '12 at 14:20

Technically, focus relates to the (better definition of) lateral extent (breadth/ range/ coverage), while concentration is about depth.

In other words, as you focus more and more, your attention is confined to a smaller and smaller area. When you concentrate on something, the depth of your attention is greater.

In practical terms, it is possible to visualize the difference in some instances, while in others it may be merely a matter of opinion.

focus (http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/focus) 1 the centre of interest or activity

However, dictionaries also define focus somewhat synonymous with concentrate, at least in literary use.

  • I disagree. You're trying to create a spurious "technical" distinction between the two words in OP's context. Per comments to the question, there are plenty of "non-technical" contexts where the words aren't at all interchangeable, but (technical or not) this isn't one of them. – FumbleFingers Aug 21 '12 at 14:50
  • @FumbleFingers "... while in others it may be merely a matter of opinion." :) – Kris Aug 22 '12 at 5:55
  • Hmm. Your "technical" definitions of focus and concentration seem a bit arbitrary to me. You could just as easily reverse the particular qualities you've chosen to focus/concentrate on for each word. The oxforddictionaries entry is largely irrelevant, in that it just shows that the two words can't be used interchangeably in all contexts (we can speak of the focus of a discussion, but not the concentration of the discussion). – FumbleFingers Aug 22 '12 at 10:56

Quite possibly someone will provide an answer attempting to show how focus and concentration somehow means something more than either word on its own.

So far as I'm concerned, in OP's specific context it's just tautological repetition for the sake of emphasis. This is perfectly normal in English, and in no way, shape, or form is it a "defect".

  • You mean that these words do not have any connotations in their meaning? – Shakiba r.abadi Aug 21 '12 at 13:50
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    @Shakiba r.abadi: Of course they have other meanings in other contexts that are not equivalent. The concentration of an acid has nothing to do with focus, for example. But in your context (metaphoric mental focus/concentration) they're just different words for the same thing - "undivided close attention". – FumbleFingers Aug 21 '12 at 14:45
  • (+1) for tautological repetition for the sake of emphasis. – Stat-R Aug 21 '12 at 15:12
  • No, I don't think so. – Shakiba r.abadi Aug 21 '12 at 15:16
  • @Shakiba r.abadi: As I understand it, your native language is Persian, not English. I don't know Persian, but I'd have thought all languages have certain word-pairs which in certain contexts both have the same meaning. Even if you can find a few native English speakers who claim focus and concentration actually convey different meanings in your example, that won't change the fact that for everyone else they are the same. Given you're the one asking the question, I don't see what it "means" for you to disagree with the answer. – FumbleFingers Aug 21 '12 at 19:17

In this context, as @FumbleFingers says, focus and concentration mean pretty much the same thing.

In slightly different contexts, however, focus (as a noun) may also be used to designate the object of the action. This is infrequently encountered with concentration, except in the academic area of concentration.

Concentration, on the other hand, is somewhat more likely to be used when the writer wants to emphasize the action itself, or the effort expended.

And wider afield, of course, usage is still more distinct: you are very unlikely to hear of a lens bringing light rays to a concentration, or of enemies of the state being imprisoned in a focus camp!


Focus is to narrow down your attention to something, concentration is to keep the focus maintained

  • Agreed. When I hear "concentrate", I imagine distractions all around that I have to avoid thinking about. – Alexander Bird May 30 '20 at 17:21

Within the context of mental activity:

Focus: Allocate mental resources to a particular task -- e.g. to read this line or that paragraph or that book

(Pure) Concentration : Allocation of mental resources to a particular task over the duration of (uninterrupted) time that is required to execute the task.

Focus is like the smallest unit of Concentration. Concentration occurs when contiguous units of focus are allocated to execute the task.

The main difference : Concentration is required to execute the task, focus is require to direct attention to the task

Not staying focus, simply means the lack of concentration

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