I am not sure whether we can use build and construct interchangeably in the following sentence:

The report said that the loss of natural disasters has increased tremendously because we do not respect the environment and build/construct unsafe cities.

closed as off topic by tchrist, Robusto, JSBձոգչ, MetaEd, cornbread ninja 麵包忍者 Jan 1 '13 at 6:20

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  • You shouldn't ask proofreading questions here. Ask at Stack Exchange Writers. – user21497 Dec 7 '12 at 8:44
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I suspect 'construct' is preferred when we deal with something more abstract e.g. 'construct an idea', 'construct the events happened 20 years ago' etc. The word 'build' is often used with something physical e.g. 'build a structure', 'build a lab' etc. Although I have seen many sentences where build is also used with abstract things such as 'build the argument', 'build the character' etc.

  • 1
    +1 I agree with this analysis. I was about to construct an answer using the idea that "to construct" is more abstract than "to build". The only thing that I'd add here is that perhaps the notion of "constructing" something implies a more painstaking attention to detail than does the notion of "building" something. – user21497 Dec 7 '12 at 9:29

Build and construct cannot be used interchangeably in this sentence. It should be this:

... we do not respect the environment, and we build unsafe cities.


... we do not respect the environment when we build unsafe cities.


... we do not respect the environment because we build unsafe cities.

  • Can we use 'construct' in connection with bridges, dams, etc? "Construction equipment" is machines like excavators and bulldozers. – Sudhir Dec 7 '12 at 9:00
  • @Sudhir Construction equipment does not construct things. It builds them. – tchrist Dec 7 '12 at 23:33
  • Would you say construct or build a diagram from the data? – skan Dec 28 '18 at 21:31

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