This vs That

–  This vs That  –


ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ


A


“Ad” vs “Advert” vs “Advertisement” – Both “Ad” and “Advert” are shortened forms of the word “Advertisement”.  So which one to use?…  If you speak “The Common Tongue” (otherwise known as “American English”,) then you would say Ad.  However, if you speak “British English”, then you would scoff at the silly “yank” and say, “It’s pronounced Advert!”  Unfortunately, opting with saying advertisement won’t do you any good either, because the two lexically warring cousins pronounce that differently as well.  Luckily, you get to make your own choice about how you want to pronounce it. 😉  (But if you would like to learn “The Common Tongue” pronunciation, you can consult the pronunciation guide here at GiveMeSomeEnglish!!! for help.)  –   Read the Full Post Here


“Advertisement” vs “Commercial” – These two terms are virtually the same and are quite often used to mean the same thing – However, the root word of Commercial is “Commerce”, which is the buying and selling of things.  While, to advertise, is merely to draw attention to something.  So though all Commercials are “advertising” things, an Advertisement can be to give information about something without trying to sell a product.  –   Read the Full Post Here


“Agree” vs “Agree With” – There is no difference in the meaning between these two things, for in order to Agree it is necessary to do it With another.  Therefore the only difference is in usage.  When we use Agree With, there needs to be a pronoun or object (usually a person… unless you are in wonderland) directly after it in the sentence.  To use Agree without the direct object, is usually as a statement in response to another and Agree will be the last word in the sentence…  “I agree with you, that we need to make learning English much more simple.”  –  “He said that we needed to make English more simple to learn.  I told him, “I Agree” – Then we slapped high-five and did a little dance before running off into the sunset.”  –   Read the Full Post Here


“Alive” vs “Live” – Both of these words are adjectives can mean the same thing (meaning that something is living as opposed to being dead) however the main difference is in their placement in the sentence.  “Live” as an adjective needs to go before the noun that it describes.  “Alive” goes after the noun and requires the verb “to be”…  “The sample was covered in live cultures.  –  When the sample was tested it was found that the cultures were definitely alive.”


“All” vs “Every” – These words are virtually the same in their meaning.  It is only in their usage that they differ.  “All” is used to talk about uncountable nouns or a group of things as a whole – Whereas “Every” is used to talk about individual units within that whole…  (Countable & Uncountable) “All the sugar is gone!  Someone used Every packet of sugar!” – (Only Countable) “All the people at the concert where crazed on drugs!  I think that every person at the show was high on LSD!”


“Almost Positive” vs “Pretty Sure” – These two phrases are fairly close in meaning.  They both indicate that a person may not have definite proof of something but is confident about the information or feelings that that person has…  The only difference is that Almost Positive is stronger than Pretty Sure.  However these are relative terms, so the actual degree of each phrase will be different for each person.


“Although” vs “Even Though” – These two phrases are almost identical in function, usage, and meaning.  The only difference (as far as I have found) is that with Even Though is always followed by the contrasting subject, whereas Although usually follows the contrasting subject…  “Even though many people disagree on a lot of points in English grammar, I don’t think that anyone can disagree with this one.  Although, there is almost always someone who wants to say, “You’re WRONG!!!'”


“Amusement Park” vs “Theme Park” – Basically, all theme parks ARE amusement parks, but it is not true in reverse.  Basically, any place that has carnival rides, games, food stands, and other amusements of that sort is an amusement park, but not all of them have a “theme” – However, (for example) places like “Disney World”/”Land” & “Great America” are amusement parks which have a definite “Theme” – Disney’s theme is of course the characters from Disney movies and cartoons – and Great America’s theme being the characters from the Warner Bros. cartoons and various movies which are somehow related to the Warner Bros. Entertainment – therefore, both Disney & Great America, are both amusement parks AND theme parks.


“Appreciated” vs “Valued” – These terms are fairly similar, however, if someone is appreciated then that persons worth (usually in a company or organization) is recognized.  Whereas to say someone is valued, usually means that that person is appreciated (though not always.  They might be a total jerk but just really good at making sales.)  The main difference is that the person holds some “value” to the company or organization and without that the person, the company or organization would almost definitely suffer in some way.  And unfortunately, the person who is only appreciated might be missed if they left, but the company/organization would probably do just fine without that person.


“Apprentice” vs “Intern” – Traditionally an “Apprentice” was someone who was taught everything there was to know about a certain skill or trade and acted as the personal assistant to the “master”.  The apprenticeship often lasted a great many years, and when the master finally retired, the apprentice would then be the new master.  This term is not as common today as in years past, and is usually only used today for skilled trades and in family businesses…  On the other hand, an “Intern” is simply an unskilled person who is given menial work in a company for little or no money in order to acquire experience for him or herself and is quite often taken advantage of by the company as basically “cheap labor”.


“Approve” vs “Approve Of” – “Approve” (without the preposition) can be used to talk about some action that is making something official – Whereas, “Approve Of” is usually followed by some thing (subject) in which someone is approving “of”, ie. they find that subject to be worthy of approval…  “I must get the board of directors to approve the new spending budget, otherwise we will never be able to keep up with our competitors.”  –  “If I ever have a daughter, I hope that she won’t bring home some guy I don’t approve of as her boyfriend.”


“Assessment Of” vs “Assessment On” – Both of these terms mean the same thing and are used in the same way.  They are used to talk about the classification of something in order to determine its worth or value…  “The document contained an assessment on how much time is wasted by company staff who have access to their facebook accounts through the company network.”  –  “We made an assessment of how much food is wasted by catering meetings with food that nobody likes.”


“At A Wedding”  vs “In A Wedding” – The phrase, At A Wedding simply means that one attended the wedding as a guest.  The phrase In A Wedding is used to say that one participated in the wedding as either a groom’s man or a bride’s maid.


“At The Beginning” vs “In The Beginning” – These two phrases seem are very similar, but there is a distinct difference between the two.  At The Beginning is referring to a specific place (whether literal or figurative) – Whereas In The Beginning is referring to a period of time, rather than a specific physical place or moment in time.  However, it should be noted that, At The Beginning can also be used to talk about a period of time, but In The Beginning should never be used to talk about a specific place…  “Prepositional phrases, almost always, come at the beginning of a sentence.”  –  “In the beginning of the story, our hero has not yet discovered the hidden power that he contains within himself.”  –  Read The Full Post Here


“Attend” vs “Attend To” – To “Attend” means to be present for some sort of event.  To “Attend To” (something) means to take care of; handle; deal with; take the responsibility of…  “I have to attend a meeting this afternoon.  Could you please attend to rescheduling my afternoon appointments?”


“Avenge” vs “Revenge” – Simply put…  “Avenge” is a verb, and “Revenge” is a noun…  “All he thought about was avenging his father’s dead.  He knew that he would get his revenge someday.”  –  “His thoughts were only of revenge.  He knew that someday, he would avenge his father’s death.”


B


(the) “Big Picture” vs (the) “Fine Details” – The term “The Big Picture” is used to refer to everything involved with a certain thing, action, plan, etc. – Whereas the “Fine Details” refers to the many smaller elements of a thing that come together to create “The Big Picture”…  It is generally thought that management and higher executives of a company or organization are concerned with the big picture whereas the department heads, supervisors and their workers are concerned with the fine details.


“Bland” vs “Mild” – Both of these words, when used to describe food (and figuratively to describe other things), means that whatever it is describing is flavorless (or at least lacking in flavor.)  However, the difference is that:  To describe something as bland is a “negative” thing – whereas, to describe something as Mild is rather “neutral”.  “When I am buying cheddar cheese, I prefer to have mild.”  –  “I think that maybe the cook forgot some ingredients because that soup was very bland.”


“Blink” vs “Wink”Blink is what you do with your eyelids in order to moisturize your eyes and this usually happens naturally.  Wink is what you do when you only close one eye, and is usually done as a form of friendly greeting, a flirtation, or a show of some sort of understanding or secret between the one winking and the one who is being winked at.


“Bonus” vs “Incentive” – Though a bonus can be (and often is) an incentive in the world of jobs, careers, and business – incentives are most-often not bonuses.  When speaking of incentives, specific to working for a particular company, these are usually all the “extras” that one receives which are not monetary and can (but not always do) include “benefits”.  For example:  company car, business-class travel accommodations, family discounts at specific hotel chains, and a multitude of other things depending on the company (huge discounts on that company’s products, free tickets to event, etc.).  Whereas a bonus is an extra amount of money added to one’s salary for some purpose: (a job well-done, high sales, profit sharing, holiday, etc.)


“Builder” vs “Construction Worker” – This is another example of a difference between British English and The Common Tongue.  In British English (from my understanding) the word Builder can refer to any person working in any area of the construction industry; from the guy who picks of the refuse from a demolition job, to the guy working the crane at a major construction site; and even the foreman who over-sees the operation – even though all of these positions are distinctly different.  –  However, the term Construction Worker is a much more general term, used to refer to a person who works in the construction industry, whether he (or she) is a carpenter, brick-layer, tile installation specialist, etc.


(The) Busy Season” vs “High-Season” – These are both terms which mean exactly the same thing, and are usually used to speak about times of the year when business is much better and more productive.  Though these terms can be used for any business that experiences yearly fluctuations, they are used most often in the area of tourism and any related businesses (restaurants, hotels, travel, etc.)


“By” vs “Until” – These two time references are often mistaken as they are related, but indicate near opposite conditions.  To say that one will do/have/be something By a certain time in the future – means that, that condition is not now present, but will be at the appointed time in the future.  To say that someone will do/have/be something Until a certain time in the future – means, that the condition is now present, but will stop being so at the appointed time in the future…  “By the time you finish reading this, you will be a super-genius!” (translation:  you aren’t yet… but you will be) – “I will continue to rule the know Universe until I get bored or there is a new episode of Game Of Thrones.” (translation:  I AM the ruler of the Universe, but I will stop being so as soon as I get bored with it.)


C


“Can You…” vs “Could You…” – The question phrase “Can You…” is asking about capability – whereas “Could You…” is asking about possibility.  But despite these differences both question phrases are used in exactly the same way:  to ask for someone to do something or about the possibility of them doing it – HOWEVER… the main difference in the way they SHOULD be used is that “Can You…” is much less formal and “Could You…” is much more polite.


“Center” vs “Centre” – This is an example of a difference in spelling between the American/Common Tongue & the British/European spelling of exactly the same word.  Center is the Common Tongue spelling and Centre is the British spelling.  Both spellings are pronounced exactly the same.


“Character” vs “Characteristic” – The first word character is often used to talk about the type of personality of a person, but it goes a bit deeper, involving the beliefs and ideals of the person.  Where-as the the second word characteristic is a word which is focused on one specific thing about the person, (usually) on a much more superficial level…  “Over-all he has a very honest and idealistic character which is quite admirable, but there are definitely some characteristics that he has which some people find a bit uncomfortable…  For example, he always tells the truth.”


“Cheap” vs “Inexpensive” – The word “Cheap” can mean:  “not expensive” and/or “of poor quality” – However, the word “inexpensive” only means:  “not expensive” (relative to the item being purchased.)…  “Wow!  These sunglasses are really cheap!”  “Yeah but ‘you get what you pay for’.  They’ll probably fall apart in two weeks.  You don’t want to buy that cheap crap!.”  –  “Wow!  These glasses are really inexpensive!”  “Just make sure they aren’t a cheap imitation.  There are a lot of fake ‘knock-offs’ in these tourist towns.”  –  (see also:  “You Get What You Pay For” and “Knock-Offs”)


“Choral” vs “Coral” – These two word, are pronounced exactly the same, however they are quite different…  The word “Choral” is an adjective used to describe music that is made by the joining together of many human voices – whereas, the word “Coral” is a noun which describes an organism that lives in the sea.  One way to remember  is, the one with the letter “H” is for Human voices, and the one with only a “C” is for te the thing that lives in the “Sea“… (get it?)


“Cinema” vs “Theater” – In European English, the difference between these two words (with the article “the” in front, referring to the buildings) is that the cinema is where one would go to watch a movie, where-as the theater is where one would go to see a play.  In America, however, most of the local theaters (where one would go see a play) where converted into a place to see movies.  So in American English the theater is where one goes to watch a movie.  Without the article, used as abstract nouns, Cinema is referring to the whole world of movies and movie-making and Theater is the world of performing in, putting on, and attending “plays”.


“Classical” vs “Classic” – When referring to music, the term “Classical” is referring to the style of music written by a composer and performed by an orchestra, and the term “Classic” is referring to any piece of music, from any style of music that, no matter how old it is, it is still a great piece of music and is well-like by many people…  “I often like to listen to classical music when I’m driving, specifically Tchaikovsky, but my favorite style of music is classic 80s new-wave, pop, and prog-rock, like “Japan”, “Duran Duran”, and “Peter Gabriel”.”


“Cliche” vs “Stereotype” – Though “stereotypes” are often though of as being “cliche” (and often are), not all things (ideas) that are thought of being “cliche” are “stereotypes”…  A cliche is a thought or idea that is not original; it is just repeated because it’s the new “thing to say” – Whereas a stereotype is a generalized idea, usually about some group of people.


“Client” vs “Customer” – The simplest way to differentiate between these two terms is that a customer is someone who purchases a product, and a client is a person who purchases a service.  Another very common way that these two words are used, is that a customer gives you some money for your product or service, and a client gives you a LOT of money for your product or service.


“Climate” vs “Weather” vs “Temperature” – Climate refers to the average temperature of a place throughout the years (and in different seasons) – Weather is the broad term referring to any type of condition outdoors – and Temperature is just the measure of how hot or cold it is.


“Clocking In” vs “Racking Up” – Both of these terms are used to mean:  to collect and record – However, clocking in (when not used to talk about recording the time that a person arrives to his or her job) is used to mean:  To record an amount of time – Whereas racking up is a term that can be used to talk about the collection and recording of any type of statistics…  “In my travel across the country, I clocked in over 36 hours of driving, and racked up a total of 5 different national parks visited and 3 lakes swum in.”


“Cold” vs “Flu” – First of all these two words represent two different illnesses from separate types of viruses.  But the simplest way to think about the difference between these two illnesses is that a cold is felt mostly in the head and sinuses with coughing sneezing and runny nose – whereas a flu is felt more in the stomach with nausea and fever.


“Commercial” vs “Advertisement” – These two terms are virtually the same and are quite often used to mean the same thing – However, the root word of Commercial is “Commerce”, which is the buying and selling of things.  While, to advertise, is merely to draw attention to something.  So though all Commercials are “advertising” things, an Advertisement can be to give information about something without trying to sell a product.  –   Read the Full Post Here


(to be) “Concerned” vs (to be) “Worried” – Although these two phrases are very similar and are sometimes (by some people) used interchangeably, there is a distinct difference.  First of all, to Worry (verb) or (to be) Worried (adjectival verb phrase) is referring to a feeling of helplessness about a situation that a person has a distinct fear about resulting in a certain way.  This state or action only causes anxiety and physical maladies in the person without helping the situation in any way…  However, to be Concerned means that the person is thinking about a certain situation that he or she certainly does not want to result in a certain way, however, the emotions related to fear are kept under control so that the person can act constructively about the situation if there is a possibility to do so.  Therefore there are no detrimental effects to the person’s mind or body.  –   Read Full the Post Here


“Construction Worker” vs “Builder” – This is another example of a difference between British English and The Common Tongue.  In British English (from my understanding) the word Builder can refer to any person working in any area of the construction industry; from the guy who picks of the refuse from a demolition job, to the guy working the crane at a major construction site; and even the foreman who over-sees the operation – even though all of these positions are distinctly different.  –  However, the term Construction Worker is a much more general term, used to refer to a person who works in the construction industry, whether he (or she) is a carpenter, brick-layer, tile installation specialist, etc.


“Cook” vs “Cooker” – Even though in English, we typically add the “-er” ending to a word too describe the person or thing which does whatever the word it is attached to.  So, since the word Cook is a word which means, to prepare food with heat (and many other preliminary methods as well), it would make sense that the word Cooker would refer to a person who Cooks the food.  However, this is not the case.  We simply refer to this person, also, as a Cook.  But there is another problem…  For an explanation, read Cooker” vs “Stove.


“Cook Book” vs “Cookery Book” – This is another example of the difference between British English and The Common Tongue of English.  Both of these terms are referring to the type of book which is filled with recipes for preparing different dishes…  The term Cook Book is The Common Tongue version, and Cookery Book is the British English version.  It is up to the individual to decide which one he or she chooses to use.


“Cooker” vs “Stove” – As stated above (in “Cook” vs “Cooker“) to refer to a person who “Cooks” food, is a mistake.  However, the “-er” ending can also describe “things” which do an action also.  And in European English, the term Cooker can also be used to refer to the thing that one uses to cook the food.  In The Common Tongue, we would instead refer to that thing as a Stove.  But there are yet more problems.  For an explanation see: ” & “Stove” vs “Oven*”.


“Cope With” vs“Deal With” – To “Cope With” something means:  “To endure, tolerate or, bear with some thing/person or situation which is very unpleasant and can not be changed, fixed or avoided” – Whereas, “To Deal” with something means:  “To handle, fix, change, accomplish or do whatever needs to be done in for whatever situation is being talked about.  This can be used to talk about normal “everyday” situation or for very unpleasant situations, but the main thing is that it is being changed, fixed, handled appropriately.  –   Read The Full Post 


“Coupon” vs “Voucher” – By definition these words are virtually the same, however in The Common Tongue, a coupon is usually something given freely to be used as a discount and is not a significant savings.  However, a voucher is usually given as a “reward” for purchasing something else, and is to be used to receive a slightly larger discount than a coupon.


“Crises” vs “Crisises” – The word Crises is the plural form of the word Crisis, and though it may sound strange to some (poorly educated) people, the proper way to say the plural form of the word Crisis, is the first form, Crises.  So If you say Crisises in the presence of fairly well-educated native English speakers, there is a chance that they will think that you are not very smart (even if you are actually smarter than them.)


“Cruise Line” vs “Cruise Liner” – Though these two terms are only one letter apart, they are very different (although still related)…  A Cruise Line is a company that operates cruise ships that take people on vacations on the sea, to various places around the world – whereas a Cruise Liner is actually just another name for a cruise ship.


“Cruise Liner” vs “Cruise Ship” – These are actually two terms for exactly the same thing…  A Cruise Liner is another terms for a Cruise Ship and a Cruise Ship is another term for a Cruise Liner.


“Crumble” vs “Crumple” – Though these two words are spelled and pronounced almost the same, they both describe unique actions.  (to) Crumble describes the situation where-in something hard and dense comes apart into many pieces of various sizes.  (to) Crumple describes the situation where-in something which was flat and smooth becomes (for whatever reasons) compacted in a way that causes it to not be flat an smooth anymore…  Things the Crumble:  Cookies, Cement, Dog Poop that’s been in the sun for a really long time…  Things that Crumple:  Paper (bills, parking tickets, rejection letters, etc.), the front side panel of your car when someone runs the red light and crashes into you.


“Currently” vs “Presently” – These two terms are used in exactly the same way and mean the same thing.


“CV” vs “Résumé” – These two terms are used to describe exactly the same thing.  The only difference is that CV is the European term – Whereas, Strangely enough, Résumé (even though it is a French word) is the American term.


D


“Deal With” vs “Cope With” – To “Cope With” something means:  “To endure, tolerate or, bear with some thing/person or situation which is very unpleasant and can not be changed, fixed or avoided” – Whereas, “To Deal” with something means:  “To handle, fix, change, accomplish or do whatever needs to be done in for whatever situation is being talked about.  This can be used to talk about normal “everyday” situation or for very unpleasant situations, but the main thing is that it is being changed, fixed, handled appropriately.  –   Read The Full Post 


“Decreased By” vs “Decreased To” – “Decreased By” is referring to the amount of the total decrease – Whereas “Decreased To” is referring to the point at which the decrease is finished; the end result…  “We have decreased spending by 80% – We have decreased our staff t0 only three staff-members.”  –  (Notice that both of these prepositional phrases are separable)


“Defiant” vs “Rebellious” – Though you can say that someone is acting rebellious, this term is used more to describe someone’s personality – Whereas, the term defiant is used more to talk about a persons behavior rather than his or her personality…  “Claude has always been a rebellious child, not wanting to do what other’s do, but today he is being particularly defiant about having to go to school.  I can’t seem to get him to even get out of bed!”


“De-Motivated” vs “Un-Motivated” – If is a person is un-motivated that simply means that the person is NOT motivated (for whatever reason.)  However if a person is de-motivated, this implies that the person WAS, at one time, motivated but some condition or situation has caused that person to loose the motivation that he or she once had.


“Depend” vs “Rely” – These two words, in all their different forms are such incredibly close synonyms that they are all interchangeable.  Whether it’s:  Dependable & reliable, Dependent & Reliant, Depending & Relying


“Desert” vs “Dessert” – These two words, because of their spelling are often mixed up, but as far as what they represent, they couldn’t be farther apart.  Desert (with the stress on the first syllable and only one “s”) is for the dry area of land that is usually filled with sand.  You can think of the single “s” as standing for “Sand”.  The second one (with the stress on the second syllable with two “s”s) is for the food that is eaten after a meal and is usually very sweet.  You can think of the two “s”s as standing for “Super Sweet” and even “Second Syllable” (for where to put the stress).


“Dish-Washer” vs “Washer”/”Washing-Machine” – A Dish-Washer is the machine that washes dishes, whereas a Washer is a shortened version of the term Washing-Machine, which is the machine that washes clothes.  So why not call that the Clothes-Washer?  Well, because the Washing-Machine was invented LONG before the Dish-Washer and since it was the only machine like it, people had gotten used to calling it the Washing-Machine, and then, simply, the Washer…  So, years later, when the Dish-Washer was invented – which was just another type of machine that washed things – people had to distinguish it from the one that people had already been calling the Washing-Machine or Washer.


“Down The Lane/Road/Street” vs “Up The Lane/Road/Street” – There are actually a few reasons why we would say these different phrases.  1st. we say “Down” if the road is actually going down a hill or incline.  We also say “Down” if the numbers for the addresses are actually going down, and of course just the opposite for both reasons using the word “Up”.  The other reason is a little more obscure…  Since “Downtown” is usually in the center of the town, and “Uptown” is referring to the “rich” part of town, which (if geographically possible) is in the area that overlooks the town from above (because rich people are better than the rest 😀 ) then we say “Down” to mean going towards the center, and “Up” when heading away from the center.  –  (This last reason is of course contestable)


E


(the) “Elderly” vs “Old” (People) – The word Elderly is a respectful term for Old people (usually retired.)  As a noun it describes all people “of many years” (The Elderly, as opposed to, Old People), and as an adjective, it is just a much nicer way of saying “old”…  (He is an elderly man.”  as opposed to “He’s an old man.”)


“Endorsement” vs “Sponsorship” – An Endorsement is simply the act of saying “I like this product / person” and is usually done by a celebrity – Whereas a Sponsorship though often related, is giving some sort of financial or other kind of support to someone or something…  So quite often (as in the world of sports) a company will sponsor someone, and in turn that person will somehow endorse that company’s product, either by doing a commercial or by wearing, using, or somehow promoting that product in public.


“Even Though” vs “Although” – These two phrases are almost identical in function, usage, and meaning.  The only difference (as far as I have found) is that with Even Though is always followed by the contrasting subject, whereas Although usually follows the contrasting subject…  “Even though many people disagree on a lot of points in English grammar, I don’t think that anyone can disagree with this one.  Although, there is almost always someone who wants to say, “You’re WRONG!!!'”


“Ever” vs “Even” – Although these words look very similar, they are completely different kinds of words.  “Ever” is a time-phrase that is used to mean:  “At any time (from now to the beginning of time or to the indefinite future) – Whereas, “Even” is often used as a conjunction to imply that the surrounding information (either before or after the word) is very surprising…  “Justin Bieber has got to be the most hated celebrity ever!  In fact, he is so disliked that the crowds in a restaurant in Ibiza even cheered when he fled after being attacked by Orlando Bloom!”


“Ever” vs “Never”“Ever” is a time-phrase that is used to mean:  “At any time (from now to the beginning of time or to the indefinite future) – Whereas, “Never” just means “Not Ever”…  “Have you ever been there?” = has there been any point in your life that you have been “there”?  /  “No, I’ve never been there.” = I have not been there at any point in my life.


“Every” vs “All” – These words are virtually the same in their meaning.  It is only in their usage that they differ.  “All” is used to talk about uncountable nouns or a group of things as a whole – Whereas “Every” is used to talk about individual units within that whole…  (Countable & Uncountable) “All the sugar is gone!  Someone used Every packet of sugar!” – (Only Countable) “All the people at the concert where crazed on drugs!  I think that every person at the show was high on LSD!”


“Evidence” vs “Proof”“Proof” is established and shown by using “Evidence”, but not all “Evidence” is “Proof”; it is the “Evidence” which leads to the “Proof”…  “What proof do you have the my client is guilty?” – “Your client is guilty because the evidence clearly shows that not only were his fingerprint found on the gun, but we also have a taped confession that your client was the murderer!”…  “There is your proof!”


“Ex-“ vs “Former” – Both the prefix Ex- and the word Former have the same meaning.  They both refer to someone or something which previously was whatever the prefix was added to or the adjective is modifying.  However, the prefix Ex- usually carries with it, a “negative” connotation, whereas the adjective Former remains neutral…  “She’s a former cover-girl for playboy international and she’s also my ex-girlfriend.  Thankfully, she was my “Ex” before she became a nude model.”  –  (Notice that Ex can also be used as a slang noun, by itself when referring to someone’s former lover.)


“Excited” vs “Exciting” – The difference in these two adjectives is in what they are describing.  We describe things which cause excitement to be exciting – Whereas, when we do something very exciting, then we describe ourselves (or someone else) as excited…  Things are exciting, people are excited


“Executive” vs “Manager” – These two terms can be very similar, however, as executives are often the people in an companies and organizations they are quite often also managers, but a manager is not always an executive…  One way to think of it is that the executives “execute” decisions, and the managers “manage” the resources available in order to make those decisions of the executives a reality.


F


“Fame” vs “Famous” – “Fame” is the noun which refers to the subject of being famous, whereas “Famous” is an adjective to describe the thing has achieved some level of fame…  “I used to want to be rich and famous, but I can see now that there are much better things in life than fortune and fame.”


“Few” vs “A Few” – Though these two expressions may seem to be the same, they are quite different.  to say:  “I have few friends” – is a very sad thing and means that “I don’t have very many friends and I’m probably very sad and lonely”  –  To say:  “I have a few friends” – is not really that sad, because the person is saying that they do have friends and because of that they are probably not lonely.  So…  few  means:  “close to none” and has a “negative” connotation – whereas a few means:  “more than none” and has a “positive” connotation.  –  (See Also:  “Little” vs “A Little”)


“Figure Out” vs “Sort Out” vs “Work Out” – All three of these phrases are used to mean:  “To solve a problem”.  However – figure out is directly related to math (figure = number), so to figure out something literally means to find the solution for a math problem – sort out has more to do with organizing something…  So if the problem was deciding between a number of choices, then one could say, “we need to sort out who is the best candidate.” – If the situation was one that needed a solution but there was nothing with which to work with, then we could say (for example), “We need to work out a plan to achieve our goals.” (i.e.  to create one.)…  However, people who don’t think about the exact meaning of the words they use, consider all of these terms to be interchangeable.


(the) “Fine Details” vs (the) “Big Picture” – The term “The Big Picture” is used to refer to everything involved with a certain thing, action, plan, etc. – Whereas the “Fine Details” refers to the many smaller elements of a thing that come together to create “The Big Picture”…  It is generally thought that management and higher executives of a company or organization are concerned with the big picture whereas the department heads, supervisors and their workers are concerned with the fine details.


“Flattery” vs “Praise” – To flatter someone is to give them compliments, usually un-necessary and exaggerated or completely dis-honestly, and also quite often as a way of obtaining some favor or advantage from the person who the flattery is directed to.  This is why it is often perceived in a dis-favorable way.  Whereas to praise someone is to give that person compliments and recognition for some action that that person has done and/or a quality which that person possesses.  Therefore, although some people are un-comfortable receiving praise, this is never looked at in a dis-favorable way; in fact it is quite the opposite – some people need it to function.


“Flu” vs “Cold” – First of all these two words represent two different illnesses from separate types of viruses.  But the simplest way to think about the difference between these two illnesses is that a cold is felt mostly in the head and sinuses with coughing sneezing and runny nose – whereas a flu is felt more in the stomach with nausea and fever.


“Floor” vs “Ground” – The “Floor” is very similar to the “Ground”, for they are both the thing that we stand on.  However the word “Ground” represents the “Floor” when we are outside, and the “Floor” represents the “Ground” when we are inside some man-made structure (as long as the structure’s floor is not the bare Earth itself, like in a tent or some old ruins)…  “The floor of the kitchen is covered in the finest handmade Mexican tiles.”  –  “The ground was soft and moist from last night’s rain.”


“Former” vs “Ex-“ – Both the prefix Ex- and the word Former have the same meaning.  They both refer to someone or something which previously was whatever the prefix was added to or the adjective is modifying.  However, the prefix Ex- usually carries with it, a “negative” connotation, whereas the adjective Former remains neutral…  “She’s a former cover-girl for playboy international and she’s also my ex-girlfriend.  Thankfully, she was my “Ex” before she became a nude model.”  –  (Notice that Ex can also be used as a slang noun, by itself when referring to someone’s former lover.)


“Former” vs “Latter” – These two terms are used to refer to things that were previously stated.  They are used in formal spoken and written English when there are two things that are being spoken or written about.  When reference is made to the first thing we refer to is as the former and to refer to the second thing, we use latter…  “When comparing apples and oranges, one should remember that the former are red and juicy with a white inside – whereas the latter are also juicy, but they have an orange colored inside and outside.”  –  (former = apples / latter = oranges)


“Frankly…” vs “Honestly…” vs “Truthfully…” – When a person starts a sentence with any of these words (or the similar phrases: to be honest, quite frankly, truthfully speaking, etc.) it means that they feel that the following information is going to be uncomfortable for the person hearing it and that they may not be happy to hear it.  They are usually used in answer to a question.  The only difference between the three is that “Honestly” and “Truthfully” are used to be more polite – Whereas “Frankly” is used when the person speaking doesn’t really care how the other person feel…  “Do you think this outfit looks good on me?” – “Truthfully, I think it that you would look better in a darker color.” / “Honestly, I don’t think that it compliments your figure.” / “Frankly, I don’t think it is at all appropriate to wear a sequined bikini to the office.”


“Fun” vs “Funny” – When we want to say the something is very enjoyable we use “fun”.  If we want to say that something is very humorous, we say “funny”…  “Our trip to Lanzarote was very fun.  We saw a comedian there who was very funny.”


G


“German” vs “Germany”“German” is the word to refer to the people and anything that comes from (or is created in the style of that which comes from) “Germany” – whereas, “Germany” is the word which is used to refer to the country itself…  “The Germans say that they have the best beer in the world, but I tried many different beers when I went to Germany and it all tasted the same.  Boring and bland.  I think a nice bitter India Pale Ale easily beats any German beer.  But that’s just my opinion.”


“Good” vs “Well” – The use of these two words can be easy to mix up.  This is especially true when many native speakers use them improperly.  *Good* is an adjective used to describe some “thing” – “This book is really *good*!” – “My use of English is not so *good*.”  “That doesn’t look very *good*”…  Whereas *Well* is an adverb which is used to describe how something is done or is going – OR – how a person is feeling – “That didn’t go so *well*.” – “I’m not feeling very *well*.” – ” You don’t look *well*.”


“Gossip” vs “Shit Talkin'” / “Talkin’ Shit” – There is really no complicated description needed here…  Girls *Gossip*…  Guys *Talk Shit*


“Greece” vs “Greek” – “Greece” is the word used to refer to the country – whereas “Greek” is the adjective used to describe the people of Greece and anything that comes from that country…  “I always loved going to Greek restaurants when I lived in America, but when I actually went to Greece I was surprised that the food was very different than what I had experienced before.”


“Grab” vs “Grasp” – The literal meaning of these two words are both very similar.  They both mean:  To take hold of something.  However, to grasp something has a figurative meaning, which is to be able to “understand” or comprehend something.


“Grab” vs “Grip” – Both of these terms have to do with holding onto something – however, the word Grab is referring to the act of taking hold of something that one did not have hold on (the focus is on the action.)  And the word Grip is referring to the action of continuing to hold on to something, either for the purpose of keep either it, or the one gripping in the same place…  “The stage performer grabbed the coin from my hand before I was able to close it.”  –  “When riding a bicycle, one needs grip the handlebars tightly to be able to control which direction one goes.”


“Grasp” vs “Grip” – The difference between these terms is almost identical to the difference between “Grab” and “Grip” – The only real significance is that the use of the word Grasp is no longer commonly used.  In it’s place is used the word “Grab”; and both of these verbs are used figuratively to mean: “To Comprehend”; “To Understand” – However Grasp can mean this on its own, whereas Grip only means this when used in the verb phrase “To Come To Grips With…”  -Or-  “To Get To Grips With…”


“Ground” vs “Floor” – The “Floor” is very similar to the “Ground”, for they are both the thing that we stand on.  However the word “Ground” represents the “Floor” when we are outside, and the “Floor” represents the “Ground” when we are inside some man-made structure (as long as the structure’s floor is not the bare Earth itself, like in a tent or some old ruins)…  “The floor of the kitchen is covered in the finest handmade Mexican tiles.”  –  “The ground was soft and moist from last night’s rain.”


“Grow” vs “Grow Up” – The first term, Grow is a verb which means to get larger, more vast, and expansive, etc.  –  However, the phrasal verb Grow Up (usually used to talk about people) refers to not only getting older, but also maturing…  “Though many of my peers have grown old throughout the years, I am one of those people who decided that I didn’t want to grow up.  Although I do know how and when to be a mature adult, I prefer to by a big kid most of the time.”


“Grow” vs “Raise” – When referring to animals (or children) we say raise – When referring to plants, we say Grow.


H


“Harangue” vs “Harass” – While to be “Harangued” is a form of “Harassment”, it is not true the other way around.  Harassment is any form of pressure or intimidation put upon a person (for whatever reason) – Whereas, to be Harangued means to be harassed at length in the verbal form; to be lectured; yelled at.


“Hands-On” vs “Practical” – The adjective, “practical” and the adjectival phrase, “hands on” can be used interchangeably in many situations, however they are not the same thing.  “Hands On” skills are skills that one acquites by actually doing something rather than simply watching it done or reading about it.  So learning skills ARE practical, because one is actually practicing them.  But not all practical skills are hands on.  For example, learning practical skills in an English conversation class would not be considered hands on, even though they definitely ARE practical.


“Hear” vs “Listen To” – The word “Hear” refers to simply the ability to register sensation of sound with one’s ears.  Whereas, to “Listen to” means:  to focus on a specific sound with the intent of more attentively registering and comprehend the sound…  “I can hear you talking but I’m not listening to you.”


“High-Season” vs (The) Busy Season” – These are both terms which mean exactly the same thing, and are usually used to speak about times of the year when business is much better and more productive.  Though these terms can be used for any business that experiences yearly fluctuations, they are used most often in the area of tourism and any related businesses (restaurants, hotels, travel, etc.)


“Hiking” vs “Trekking” – As far meaning is concerned, there is no difference between these terms.  Hiking is the American-English term and Trekking is the European-English version.


“Hire” vs “Rent” – In The Common Tongue, “Hire” is used for paying for the services of someone or some company, while “Rent” is used to talk about paying for the use of some object like a car or an apartment…  “When we went on our holiday, we rented a room with a beautiful view of the ocean, we also rented a nice little car to get around the island and then on our second to last day, we hired a masseuse and we both got a wonderful massage with the sound of the ocean in the background.”


“Holiday” vs “Vacation” – The difference between these two terms is a good example of a difference between American and European English.  In American English a Holiday is any day that is celebrated as a special day on the calendar on which most people get time off of work, and can be anything from a religious holidays (“Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza,) to cultural holidays (Halloween, New Year’s Eve, Valentine’s Day) to State and National Holidays (Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day).  However, a Vacation is an extended period of time off of work (or school) strictly for the sake of having some time off.  Whereas in European English a Holiday is any time off and a Vacation is only when one travels somewhere during that time off.


“Home” vs “House” – The word house is used only to talk about the building itself, (not an apartment, flat, etc.) – Whereas the word home is used to talk about the place where one lives regardless of what type of structure it is.


“Homework” vs “Housework”“Homework” is referring to the work that a student has to do outside of the class – Whereas “Housework” is referring to all the things that a person may have to do around the home, such as:  Laundry, washing dishes, sweeping and mopping the floors, vacuuming, etc.


“Honestly…” vs “Frankly…” vs  “Truthfully…” – When a person starts a sentence with any of these words (or the similar phrases: to be honest, quite frankly, truthfully speaking, etc.) it means that they feel that the following information is going to be uncomfortable for the person hearing it and that they may not be happy to hear it.  They are usually used in answer to a question.  The only difference between the three is that “Honestly” and “Truthfully” are used to be more polite – Whereas “Frankly” is used when the person speaking doesn’t really care how the other person feel…  “Do you think this outfit looks good on me?” – “Truthfully, I think it that you would look better in a darker color.” / “Honestly, I don’t think that it compliments your figure.” / “Frankly, I don’t think it is at all appropriate to wear a sequined bikini to the office.”


“Hot-Dogs” vs “Sausages” – “sausages” is a very broad term that can describe any one of probably thousands of different preparations of meat, cartilage, fat, and other various parts of an animal which is ground up and put, traditionally, into intestines of the animal and then either cooked, smoked or aged – Whereas the term “Hot-Dog” is an American English term for a specific kind that was served in the baseball parks and stadiums in America.  They meat (and other ingredients) is ground very fine into a paste so there are no chunks, and is, typically, no longer put in intestine.  It is closest in style to Bologna.


I


“In A Wedding”  vs “At A Wedding” – The phrase, At A Wedding simply means that one attended the wedding as a guest.  The phrase In A Wedding is used to say that one participated in the wedding as either a groom’s man or a bride’s maid.


“In The Beginning” vs “At The Beginning” – These two phrases seem are very similar, but there is a distinct difference between the two.  At The Beginning is referring to a specific place (whether literal or figurative) – Whereas In The Beginning is referring to a period of time, rather than a specific physical place or moment in time.  However, it should be noted that, At The Beginning can also be used to talk about a period of time, but In The Beginning should never be used to talk about a specific place…  “Prepositional phrases, almost always, come at the beginning of a sentence.”  –  “In the beginning of the story, our hero has not yet discovered the hidden power that he contains within himself.”  –  Read The Full Post Here


“In-Hand” vs “Under Control” –  Though the term “Out of Hand” is used to say something is NOT under control, the “opposite” – saying that something is in-hand is very rarely used in this way.  Instead the adjectival phrase in-hand is almost always used literally to say that something is actually “in” one’s “hand”.  To say that something is the opposite of “Out of Hand”, we almost always use the phrase Under Control…  “With his drink in-hand he thought he had is night *under control”…  but he was wrong.”  😉


“In Time” vs “On Time” – These terms are very close to the same thing, however, the differences are very similar to the difference between “for and “since”.  If we say “I finished in time, then the focus is on the amount of time that was given to do something.  (“I had three hours, to do it, and I finished it in two.  I finished it in time.”)  If we say, “I finished it on time, then the focus is on a specific time that something needed to be done by.  (I had to have it done by 5:00pm, I finished it at 4:37pm.  I finished in on time.)


“Incentive” vs “Bonus” – Though a bonus can be (and often is) an incentive in the world of jobs, careers, and business – incentives are most-often not bonuses.  When speaking of incentives, specific to working for a particular company, these are usually all the “extras” that one receives which are not monetary and can (but not always do) include “benefits”.  For example:  company car, business-class travel accommodations, family discounts at specific hotel chains, and a multitude of other things depending on the company (huge discounts on that company’s products, free tickets to event, etc.).  Whereas a bonus is an extra amount of money added to one’s salary for some purpose: (a job well-done, high sales, profit sharing, holiday, etc.)


“Inexpensive” vs “Cheap” – The word “Cheap” can mean:  “not expensive” and/or “of poor quality” – However, the word “inexpensive” only means:  “not expensive” (relative to the item being purchased.)…  “Wow!  These sunglasses are really cheap!”  “Yeah but ‘you get what you pay for’.  They’ll probably fall apart in two weeks.  You don’t want to buy that cheap crap!.”  –  “Wow!  These glasses are really inexpensive!”  “Just make sure they aren’t a cheap imitation.  There are a lot of fake ‘knock-offs’ in these tourist towns.”  –  (see also:  “You Get What You Pay For” and “Knock-Offs”)


“Intern” vs “Apprentice” – Traditionally an “Apprentice” was someone who was taught everything there was to know about a certain skill or trade and acted as the personal assistant to the “master”.  The apprenticeship often lasted a great many years, and when the master finally retired, the apprentice would then be the new master.  This term is not as common today as in years past, and is usually only used today for skilled trades and in family businesses…  On the other hand, an “Intern” is simply an unskilled person who is given menial work in a company for little or no money in order to acquire experience for him or herself and is quite often taken advantage of by the company as basically “cheap labor”.


J


“Jail” vs “Prison” – A “Prison” is a type of “Jail”, but a “Jail” is not a “Prison”.  A “Jail” is much smaller, usually run by a city or county and is where people go when they are first arrested, when they are waiting to be released, or are waiting to go to court to be sentenced.  If they are sentenced to a short term, they usually go back to “Jail”.  If however, they are sentenced to a long term, typically for more serious crimes, they go to “Prison”, which is usually run by the state…  “The criminal was arrested and held in the city jail while he was being processed.  He was then transferred to the county jail to await his hearing at which time, he plead guilty.  He then went back to jail until his sentencing, at which time he received a life sentence and sent to the state prison to serve his term.”


“Jargon” vs “Slang” – Both of these terms represent almost the same thing.  They both represent specialized words that are specific and unique to different groups and not widely understood outside of those groups.  However, the main difference is that slang is always considered to be very informal and often-times not “appropriate” (in so-called “normal” society) – Whereas Jargon is essentially just the “formal” slang of various professions and groups…  (they just changed the word so-as to not be associated with “informal” and un-respectable society.)


“Job” vs “Work” – The fact that these words are often used interchangeably, they are quite often confused.  The easiest way to differentiate them is in their parts of speech.  “Job” is a countable noun, whereas “work” is uncountable –  “I have a job in the center of the city.  My work is predominantly with helping people figure out what they want to do with their lives.”… The part where is gets confusing for many people is when we say things like:  “I have to go to work now.”  but here it is being used in its infinitive form to say that the person is going to the place where they work to do their job…  Just try to remember that job is a subject noun referring to the position one holds at a company, whereas work is used to describe the actions of that job.


K


“Kill” vs “Slaughter” (referring to animals) – With both of these terms, the animal is dead.  However, if a person were either hunting or just decided that the animal just really needed to die (for some reason) then that person would *kill* the animal.  If the animal was raised to become food, and it was being killed to be turned into some type of food product, we would say that the animal was being *slaughtered*.  (However, many hunters like to say “harvest”, which is an obvious attempt to take away the responsibility for killing an animal strictly because they like it.  You don’t “harvest” a deer, you “harvest” corn, or wheat.  Most hunters just “murder” animals because they like to kill.  There is plenty of food down at the store.)


L


“Last Week” vs “The Last Week” – These two phrases seem like the same thing, and actually can be.  However, Last Week refers to the week before the previous one, meaning, if it is Sunday, then it is the time from the previous Sunday to the day before.  Whereas The Last Week is referring to the seven days prior to “today”.  So if it is Wednesday, it is referring to the time from “today” back seven days…  not specifically from Sunday to Sunday.  (Yes, contrary to popular belief, Sunday – not Monday – is the first day of the week.)


“Latter” vs “Former” – These two terms are used to refer to things that were previously stated.  They are used in formal spoken and written English when there are two things that are being spoken or written about.  When reference is made to the first thing we refer to is as the former and to refer to the second thing, we use latter…  “When comparing apples and oranges, one should remember that the former are red and juicy with a white inside – whereas the latter are also juicy, but they have an orange colored inside and outside.”  –  (former = apples / latter = oranges)


“Launch” vs “Release” [Marketing] – In the worlds of marketing and commerce, these words are very similar.  However, Release is a word that is more appropriate for a product – whereas Launch is more appropriate to use when referring to some action that is being taken (like a marketing campaign…  “We are going to release the new design of our company logo when we launch the holiday marketing campaign after Thanks-Giving.”


“Learned” vs “Learnt” – This is another example of the difference between British English and The Common Tongue of English.  Both are the past-tense of the verb “Learn” – However, Learned is The Common Tongue version, and Learnt is the British English version.


“Libel” vs “Slander” – Both of these words are legal terms that refer to making “bad” comments about a person, however – “Libel” is a term for when someone writes comments about someone (in a magazine, book, newspaper, etc.) that are offensive or in someone defame a person’s character – whereas “Slander” is the term for when someone “says” something (verbally) about someone (usually in an interview, speech that is broadcast or televised but can be in “normal” conversation.)…  “He was sued for libel after publishing the book that contained personal information about…”  –  “She was sued for slander after the comments he made in his interview.”


“Line” / “Get In Line” / “Line Up” vs “Queue” – This is another difference between British and Common Tongue vocabulary.  The word queue is a British English term form the line that people stand in while waiting for something and can also be used as a verb to get into or form a  – Whereas in The Common Tongue we simply refer to the thing as a line.  For the act of joining the line we say, get in line.  And for the act of forming that line we say, line up.


“Listen To” vs “Hear” – The word “Hear” refers to simply the ability to register sensation of sound with one’s ears.  Whereas, to “Listen to” means:  to focus on a specific sound with the intent of more attentively registering and comprehend the sound…  “I can hear you talking but I’m not listening to you.”


“Little” vs “A Little” – Though these two expressions may seem to be the same, they are quite different.  to say:  “I have little money” – is a very disappointing thing (for most) and means that “I don’t have very much money and I’m probably very cold and hungry”  –  To say:  “I have a a little money” – is not really that bad, because the person is saying that they do have some money and because of that they are probably not so cold and hungry.  So…  little  means:  “close to none” and has a “negative” connotation – whereas a little means:  “more than none” and has a more “positive” connotation.  –  (See Also:  “Few” vs “A Few”)


“Look At” vs “Watch” – The phrase “Look At” is used to refer to focusing one’s visual attention on something which is not moving (like at painting, a scene, really anything which is not moving.)  Whereas, “Watch” is a verb used to refer to focusing one’s attention on something which is moving (a movie, a TV show, some guy walking down the street picking his nose thinking that no one sees him)…  “I’m looking at the report right now and I don’t like what I see.”  –  “I would rather watch Game of Thrones, than listen to you complain.”


“Looks” vs “Looks Like” – The difference between the use of this verb (“looks”) and comparative phrase (“looks like”) is actually very simple.  The verb Looks by itself, needs to be followed by an adjective or adjective phrase.  Whereas, the comparative phrase Looks Like, needs to be followed by a noun, or noun phrase, (or sometimes a verb phrase…)  “He looks crazy!”  >  “You’re right!  He looks like some kind of whacked-out lunatic!”  >  “Well, I don’t know if I would go that far, but he definitely looks like he’s having a really bad day.”  >  “Well, I still think he looks like a nut-job.”  –  (“crazy” is an adjective, “whacked-out lunatic” is a noun phrase. & “nut-job” is a noun.)


“Looks” vs “Seems” – Though both of these words are often used interchangeably there is a distinct difference.  To say that something Looks a certain way, is to say that that is how the thing is registered through the organ of sight.  To say that something appears a certain way, it to say that that is how the thing is perceived in the mind through the various means of input received by that thing…  “The car looks good and it looks as though there is nothing wrong with it mechanically, but the way that the salesman is avoiding our questions and doesn’t want to let us drive it outside the parking lot, seems a little strange.  It seems like he’s hiding something.”


M


“Manager” vs “Executive” – These two terms can be very similar, however, as executives are often the people in an companies and organizations they are quite often also managers, but a manager is not always an executive…  One way to think of it is that the executives “execute” decisions, and the managers “manage” the resources available in order to make those decisions of the executives a reality.


“Me Too” vs “Me Neither”“Me Too” is a phrase that is used to agree with a “positive” statement – Whereas, “Me Neither” is a phrase used to agree with a “negative” statement…  “I really like going on vacation.”  “Me too!”  –  “I really don’t like returning to work after a vacation.”  “Me neither”  –  (See Also:  “So do I” vs “Neither do I”)


“Mild” vs “Bland” – Both of these words, when used to describe food (and figuratively to describe other things), means that whatever it is describing is flavorless (or at least lacking in flavor.)  However, the difference is that:  To describe something as bland is a “negative” thing – whereas, to describe something as Mild is rather “neutral”.  “When I am buying cheddar cheese, I prefer to have mild.”  –  “I think that maybe the cook forgot some ingredients because that soup was very bland.”


“Must” vs “Need To” – As far as meaning, these two phrases are virtually the same.  They both convey a necessity, either out of personal obligation or the obligation put on by another (work, law, personal beliefs, etc.) – As far as the usage is concerned, “must” is sometimes considered more strong, but of course, that is the personal opinion of each person who uses the term.  The biggest difference in usage is that Americans usually use “need to” more often than “must” and it is typically the other way around with British English.


N


“Nap” vs “Snooze” – Though both of these words can be used as either a noun or a verb (and “snooze” as an adjective when referring to the “snooze button” on one’s alarm clock) to refer to a short period of sleep or the act of sleeping for a short period of time.  However, they are both most commonly used as nouns.  The main difference between the two terms is not in the meaning but in the verbs used with them when in the noun form…  “I’m going to take a nap.”  /  “I’m going to have a snooze.” (they are both used in the same way in the verb form.)


“Need To” vs “Must” – As far as meaning, these two phrases are virtually the same.  They both convey a necessity, either out of personal obligation or the obligation put on by another (work, law, personal beliefs, etc.) – As far as the usage is concerned, “must” is sometimes considered more strong, but of course, that is the personal opinion of each person who uses the term.  The biggest difference in usage is that Americans usually use “need to” more often than “must” and it is typically the other way around with British English.


“Neither Do I” vs “So Do I” – “So Do I” is a phrase that is used to agree with a “positive” statement – Whereas, “Neither do I” is a phrase used to agree with a “negative” statement…  “I really like going on vacation.”  “So do I!”  –  “I really don’t like returning to work after a vacation.”  “Neither do I”  –  (See Also:  “Me too” vs “Me Neither”)


“Never” vs “Ever” – “Ever” is a time-phrase that is used to mean:  “At any time (from now to the beginning of time or to the indefinite future) – Whereas, “Never” just means “Not Ever”…  “Have you ever been there?” = has there been any point in your life that you have been “there”  /  “No, I’ve never been there.” = I have not been there at any point in my life.


O


“Old” (People) vs (the) “Elderly” – The word Elderly is a respectful term for Old people (usually retired.)  As a noun it describes all people “of many years” (The Elderly, as opposed to, Old People), and as an adjective, it is just a much nicer way of saying “old”…  (He is an elderly man.”  as opposed to “He’s an old man.”)


“On My Left/Right” vs “On The Left/Right” – When you say “On MY Left/Right”, this is referring to something which is to the left or right of your current position.  When you say “On THE Left/Right”, this is referring to the left or right side of whatever you are describing.


“On The Invitation” vs “With The Invitation” – Essentially there isn’t a lot of difference in the meaning of these two phrases and they can be used interchangeably, however to explain why we would say “On” instead of “With”…  On the invitation is used when it is for a more formal situation or to describe a situation that is not an event but an invitation to hold a certain position, whereas with the invitation is used to describe when there is an actual physical invitation…  “With the invitation in hand, I left for the party.”  –  “On/With the invitation of the president of the company, I took over the position of the new head of cool and over-all awesomeness.”  –  (Notice that either preposition works in the second example.)


“On The Permission Of…” vs “With The Permission of…” – Both of these phrases mean the same thing and can be used interchangeably.  The only possible difference is that “On” (as opposed to “With”) may be slightly more formal.


“On Time” vs “In Time” – These terms are very close to the same thing, however, the differences are very similar to the difference between “for and “since”.  If we say “I finished in time, then the focus is on the amount of time that was given to do something.  (“I had three hours, to do it, and I finished it in two.  I finished it in time.”)  If we say, “I finished it on time, then the focus is on a specific time that something needed to be done by.  (I had to have it done by 5:00pm, I finished it at 4:37pm.  I finished in on time.)


“Outgoing” vs “Sociable” – Both of these adjectives are used to describe similar personality traits, however, they are not exactly the same thing.  To describe someone as being Outgoing means that they are not shy and like to, and are very comfortable with talking to new people and usually excel in social situations.  A perfect example of this (even though they can be quite “fake” and “annoying”) are people who are in sales.  They have to be outgoing in order to sell more (and that’s why they seem in-authentic.)  –  However, to be Sociable just means that a person likes, and is comfortable in social situations.  This type of person may actually be very shy about meeting new people, but when surrounded by friends is “the life of the party”.


“Oven” vs “Stove” – These two terms are specifically referring to two different parts of the same unit (usually.)  The Stove is the top part of the unit which has the Hot-Plates for putting pots and pans on, and the Oven is the lower part that one puts things inside for “Baking”, Broiling, and actions that require the heat to completely surround the food rather than only coming from the bottom.  However, in The Common Tongue, when referring to the whole unit, we say Stove.  (Note Also: in European English, it is very common to refer to a Stove, a Hot-Plate, and an Oven all, as a Cooker.)


(to) “Over-Sleep” vs (to) “Sleep Over” – To Over-Sleep means that one has slept past the time that he or she wanted to or needed to wake up, and this is done unintentionally –whereas to Sleep Over is a term (more often used by younger people) which means to spend the night and sleep at another person’s house…  “I sl”…a camera for control* the baby…” – For this clause, we need to change the verb and then put it in the continuous tense… ept over at my girlfriend’s house last night and we both totally overslept* and were late getting to work.”


P


“Packing” vs “Packaging” – Simply put, “Packing” is the verb and “Packaging” is the noun form, to talk about the things (boxes, crates, bags, etc.) that one would be packing things into…  “I’m packing my suitcase early so that I don’t have to worry about it on the day of my flight when my mind isn’t as clear.”  –  “There is all-together, way too much packing for this product.  It’s unnecessary to wrap it in plastic, then put it in a box, and then wrap the box in yet more plastic.”


“Pattern” vs “Procedure” – A “pattern” is a recognizable repeated design or sequence of actions.  A “procedure” is an established way of doing something.


“Pensioner” vs “Retiree” – These two terms are used to describe the same thing.  The only difference is that the word pensioner is more common in Europe, and the word retiree is more common in America.


“Pig” vs “Pork” – The difference between these two words is basically in the condition that the pig happens to be in.  The word Pig refers to the animal – however, the word Pork refers to the meat from the animal once it has been killed and butchers (cut into many different pieces of various different sizes…  Even if one were to take the entire pig and cook it (without it’s insides of course) we would say we are “roasting a pig“, but once the pig is done, and we are eating it, we would say that we are eating “roast pork“.  But to talk about the event, we could say that we are either have a “Pig Roast” (noun phrase) or we are “Roasting a Pig” (verb phrase).


“Pile” vs “Stack” – Both of these terms are very similar and can be used as nouns to describe a many things which are placed and arranged on top of each other, or as verbs to describe the action of creating a pile or a stack.  However, the difference between the two terms are that a stack or (to) stack is more organized/orderly, whereas a pile or (to) pile is much less organized even to the point of being chaotic and “messy”…  “I often through my dirty clothes into a pile in the corner of the room.  When I do the laundry, I have to separate the clothes into different piles according to color.  When the laundry is done I have to fold and stack the clothes nicely.  I separate the stacks of laundry between clothes, and things like towels and sheets.”


“Pot” vs “Pottery” – First of all the word Pot is a countable noun, and the word Pottery is an uncountable noun.  But in addition to this, the word Pot is used to speak about one individual item, whereas, the word Pottery can be used to talk about a large amount of them, it can be used to talk about the “subject” of pottery, but most significantly, a pot is a specific item with a definite shape, whereas Pottery can be use to talk about ANY item that is made with clay, and fired in a kiln, including artistic items.


“Practical” vs “Hands-On” – The adjective, “practical” and the adjectival phrase, “hands on” can be used interchangeably in many situations, however they are not the same thing.  “Hands On” skills are skills that one acquites by actually doing something rather than simply watching it done or reading about it.  So learning skills ARE practical, because one is actually practicing them.  But not all practical skills are hands on.  For example, learning practical skills in an English conversation class would not be considered hands on, even though they definitely ARE practical.


“Praise” vs “Flattery” – To flatter someone is to give them compliments, usually un-necessary and exaggerated or completely dis-honestly, and also quite often as a way of obtaining some favor or advantage from the person who the flattery is directed to.  This is why it is often perceived in a dis-favorable way.  Whereas to praise someone is to give that person compliments and recognition for some action that that person has done and/or a quality which that person possesses.  Therefore, although some people are un-comfortable receiving praise, this is never looked at in a dis-favorable way; in fact it is quite the opposite – some people need it to function.


Presently vs “Currently” – These two terms are used in exactly the same way and mean the same thing.


“Pretty Sure” vs “Almost Positive” – These two phrases are fairly close in meaning.  They both indicate that a person may not have definite proof of something but is confident about the information or feelings that that person has…  The only difference is that Almost Positive is stronger than Pretty Sure.  However these are relative terms, so the actual degree of each phrase will be different for each person.


“Prison” vs “Jail” – A “Prison” is a type of “Jail”, but a “Jail” is not a “Prison”.  A “Jail” is much smaller, usually run by a city or county and is where people go when they are first arrested, when they are waiting to be released, or are waiting to go to court to be sentenced.  If they are sentenced to a short term, they usually go back to “Jail”.  If however, they are sentenced to a long term, typically for more serious crimes, they go to “Prison”, which is Snooze”usually run by the state…  “The criminal was arrested and held in the city jail while he was being processed.  He was then transferred to the county jail to await his hearing at which time, he plead guilty.  He then went back to jail until his sentencing, at which time he received a life sentence and sent to the state prison to serve his term.”


“Program” vs “Programme” – This is another example of the difference between British English and The Common Tongue.  In The Common Tongue the spelling “program” can be used for every possible meaning of the word (well, that’s convenient, now isn’t it? 😉 )… However, the spelling “programme” is British English for either a TV show or some type of collective series of events (like a programme of intense mental exercise) and the other spelling “program” is reserved for the verb form, or for the noun form referring to things like a piece of computer software.


“Proof” vs “Evidence” – “Proof” is established and shown by using “Evidence”, but not all “Evidence” is “Proof”; it is the “Evidence” which leads to the “Proof”…  “What proof do you have the my client is guilty?” – “Your client is guilty because the evidence clearly shows that not only were his fingerprint found on the gun, but we also have a taped confession that your client was the murderer!”…  “There is your proof!”


Q


“Queue” vs “Line” / “Get In Line” / “Line Up” – This is another difference between British and Common Tongue vocabulary.  The word queue is a British English term form the line that people stand in while waiting for something and can also be used as a verb to get into or form a  – Whereas in The Common Tongue we simply refer to the thing as a line.  For the act of joining the line we say, get in line.  And for the act of forming that line we say, line up.


R


“Racking Up” vs “Clocking In” – Both of these terms are used to mean:  to collect and record – However, clocking in (when not used to talk about recording the time that a person arrives to his or her job) is used to mean:  To record an amount of time – Whereas racking up is a term that can be used to talk about the collection and recording of any type of statistics…  “In my travel across the country, I clocked in over 36 hours of driving, and racked up a total of 5 different national parks visited and 3 lakes swum in.”


“Raise” vs “Grow” – When referring to animals (or children) we say raise – When referring to plants, we say Grow.


“Raise” vs “Rise” – These two words are very similar and often mistaken.  The difference is that (to) “Raise” (something) is a transitive verb and requires an object.  In other words, we can raise something by our efforts – Whereas (to) “Rise” is an intransitive verb, meaning there is no object.  In other words, we ourselves “Rise” (or the “thing” itself “rises”)…  The engineer got a raise in his salary after the rising of the bridge was successful.   (The bridge itself rose, but the raise in the amount that the engineer was given was done by someone else.)


“Rebellious” vs “Defiant” – Though you can say that someone is acting rebellious, this term is used more to describe someone’s personality – Whereas, the term defiant is used more to talk about a persons behavior rather than his or her personality…  “Claude has always been a rebellious child, not wanting to do what other’s do, but today he is being particularly defiant about having to go to school.  I can’t seem to get him to even get out of bed!”


“Relaxed” vs “Relaxing” – When this verb is used in these forms as adjectives they are both used to describe different things.  “Relaxed” as a verb is used to describe how a person (or a living thing) – Whereas, “Relaxing” is used to describe a thing that is not living (such as a boat ride or a Sunday afternoon.)…  “I was very relaxed for the entire journey.  In fact, with the beautiful weather and the wonderful scenery, the long journey was entirely relaxing.”


“Release” vs “Launch” [Marketing] – In the worlds of marketing and commerce, these words are very similar.  However, Release is a word that is more appropriate for a product – whereas Launch is more appropriate to use when referring to some action that is being taken (like a marketing campaign…  “We are going to release the new design of our company logo when we launch the holiday marketing campaign after Thanks-Giving.”


“Rely” vs “Depend” – These two words, in all their different forms are such incredibly close synonyms that they are all interchangeable.  Whether it’s:  Dependable & reliable, Dependent & Reliant, Depending & Relying


“Rent” vs “Hire” – In The Common Tongue, “Hire” is used for paying for the services of someone or some company, while “Rent” is used to talk about paying for the use of some object like a car or an apartment…  “When we went on our holiday, we rented a room with a beautiful view of the ocean, we also rented a nice little car to get around the island and then on our second to last day, we hired a masseuse and we both got a wonderful massage with the sound of the ocean in the background.”


“Résumé” vs “CV” – These two terms are used to describe exactly the same thing.  The only difference is that CV is the European term – Whereas, Strangely enough, Résumé (even though it is a French word) is the American term.


“Retiree” vs “Pensioner” – These two terms are used to describe the same thing.  The only difference is that the word pensioner is more common in Europe, and the word retiree is more common in America.


“Revenge” vs “Avenge” – Simply put…  “Avenge” is a verb, and “Revenge” is a noun…  “All he thought about was avenging his father’s dead.  He knew that he would get his revenge someday.”  –  “His thoughts were only of revenge.  He knew that someday, he would avenge his father’s death.”


“Right Away” vs “Straight Away” – These are two adjectival phrases which are used to refer to exactly the same thing – That something is done (or happened) without any sort of delay…  Right Away is the American version and Straight Away is the European version.


S


“Salary” vs “Wage” – The word “wage” is used to refer to the money that a person earns when he or she is paid by the hour.  The word “salary” is used to refer to the money that a person earns when he or she is paid a certain regular amount of money every month, regardless of how many hours he or she spends working in that time.


“Sausages” vs “Hot-Dogs”“sausages” is a very broad term that can describe any one of probably thousands of different preparations of meat, cartilage, fat, and other various parts of an animal which is ground up and put, traditionally, into intestines of the animal and then either cooked, smoked or aged – Whereas the term “Hot-Dog” is an American English term for a specific kind that was served in the baseball parks and stadiums in America.  They meat (and other ingredients) is ground very fine into a paste so there are no chunks, and is, typically, no longer put in intestine.  It is closest in style to Bologna.


“Say” vs “Say To” vs “Tell” – This has proven to be an often-confusing bit of English for many people, but it doesn’t have to be.  Simply put:  The words Say and Tell are verbs used to describe some communication between two or more people.  We use Say/Said with Direct Speech (quoting EXACTLY the words that a person used.) and we use Tell/Told with Reported Speech (to talk ABOUT  what someone “said” rather than using the exact words.)  The only time that we add the preposition To to the verb Say is when it is not clear who the person is speaking to.  We do NOT use the preposition To with the verb Tell…  “John said to his wife, ‘I’m tired'” / “John said, ‘I’m tired'” / “John told his wife he was tired.”


“See A Movie” vs “Watch A Movie” – In “normal” speech, to see something is a very general way of saying that the image of some “thing” is registered by our visual sensory apparatus, while to watch something means to be focused on that “thing” (usually moving) – However, when using these two verbs to talk about Movies or Films (whichever term you prefer) – they have different meanings…  –   Read the Full Post Here


“Seems” vs “Looks” – Though both of these words are often used interchangeably there is a distinct difference.  To say that something Looks a certain way, is to say that that is how the thing is registered through the organ of sight.  To say that something appears a certain way, it to say that that is how the thing is perceived in the mind through the various means of input received by that thing…  “The car looks good and it looks as though there is nothing wrong with it mechanically, but the way that the salesman is avoiding our questions and doesn’t want to let us drive it outside the parking lot, seems a little strange.  It seems like he’s hiding something.”


“Sensible” vs “Sensitive” – The first word Sensitive is used to describe someone being or acting with good “sense”, rationale and intelligence.  It can also be used to describe some idea or action with the same quality.  The second word sensitive is used to describe someone whose emotions are easily affected, or something which can detect sensations to a high degree…  “She’s not usually a very sensible person, but that was a very sensible decision she made.”  –  “She’s a very sensitive person.  It’s not difficult to make her cry.”  –  “The steering in this car is very sensitive!”


“Serial” vs “Series” [Television] – This is another example of the difference between American & European English.  In America people refer to a TV program that runs in a series as a “TV Series” (makes sense right?) – However in Europe people refer to the same thing as a TV Serial…  Much in the way that a serial killer, kills many people in a long series of events…  You decide which one makes more sense. 😀


“Served” vs “Serviced” – Though these words look very similar, and have the same root-word, there is a distinct difference.  A person is served by receiving some sort of service (when the waiter brings someone’s food, he has served the food and we say that the person has been served.  The word serviced is used to describe the state that thing has received some sort of service which is usually some sort of maintenance or repair.  Someone brings a car in to get serviced and it the mechanics provide the service giving it an oil-change, a lube-job, and new hoses & belts; and thus the car has been serviced.


“Server” vs “Waiter/Waitress” – The word Server is a rather “new” term, that came about due to sexism in the feminist and political correctness movement.  Even though Waiter was the masculine term and Waitress was the feminine term for a person who brings you food at a restaurant, it is becoming more and more common (at least in America) that they are both just referred to as Server…  There is also the idea that Server sounds more sophisticated and respectful, whereas Waiter and Waitress are the terms used for cheap and low-quality restaurants.  Either way, they are all words which describe, people who bring you food at a restaurant, only Server is genderless.


“Shade” vs “Shadow” – The term “Shadow” describes the area of darkness created by an object blocking the light.  The “Shade” is a term which describe the area within a shadow…  “When going into the shade of a tree to escape the heat of the summer-time weather, one is actually just going into it’s shadow.  If a smaller creature went into the shadow of a person, it too is going into the shade…  So essentially the term shade is used to talk about the shadow of something larger than us.


“Shit Talkin'” / “Talkin’ Shit” vs “Gossip” – There is really no complicated description needed here…  Girls Gossip…  Guys Talk Shit


(to go) “Shopping” vs (to go) “Shopping Around” vs (to do) “The Shopping” –  To go “shopping” is the most general of these phrases and could mean any number of situations where a person is leaving their house to go to some place to purchase something, or to simply look at things with merely the possibility of purchasing.  To go “shopping around”  usually implies that a person is looking for some particular thing and will be visiting various locations in order to find it and/or compare prices and options.  And, to do “the shopping” usually refers to the act of purchasing things that are used on a regular basis and thus the act is referring to shopping for “the things” that one buys often.


“Shy” vs “Timid” – Both of these phrases are used to describe someone’s personality and they can both be used to talk about how a person is behaving (…”she’s a very shy/timid person”) and they can both be used to describe someone’s behavior, however it is more common to use shy in this case, and the verbs used with them are different…  “She’s acting shy”  –  “She’s being timid”  –  (Please note:  These are not rules, this is just an explanation of common usage.)


“Slander” vs “Libel” – Both of these words are legal terms that refer to making “bad” comments about a person, however – “Libel” is a term for when someone writes comments about someone (in a magazine, book, newspaper, etc.) that are offensive or in someone defame a person’s character – whereas “Slander” is the term for when someone “says” something (verbally) about someone (usually in an interview, speech that is broadcast or televised but can be in “normal” conversation.)…  “He was sued for libel after publishing the book that contained personal information about…”  –  “She was sued for slander after the comments he made in his interview.”


“Slang” vs “Jargon” – Both of these terms represent almost the same thing.  They both represent specialized words that are specific and unique to different groups and not widely understood outside of those groups.  However, the main difference is that slang is always considered to be very informal and often-times not “appropriate” (in so-called “normal” society) – Whereas Jargon is essentially just the “formal” slang of various professions and groups…  (they just changed the word so-as to not be associated with “informal” and un-respectable society.)


“Slap” vs “Smack” vs “Spank” – All of these words are terms which refer to different ways of hitting someone – however there are subtle differences.  To Slap someone is to hit them (usually across the face) with an open hand, hitting them with the palm.  To Smack someone is to hit them (usually across the face) with an open hand, hitting them with the back side of the hand.  To Spank someone is to hit them with the inside of an open hand on their butt.  This is usually done to children when they are misbehaving, or done (as adults) to another person to show sexual attraction or arousal.


“Slaughter” vs “Kill” (referring to animals) – With both of these terms, the animal is dead.  However, if a person were either hunting or just decided that the animal just really needed to die (for some reason) then that person would kill the animal.  If the animal was raised to become food, and it was being killed to be turned into some type of food product, we would say that the animal was being slaughtered.  (However, many hunters like to say “harvest”, which is an obvious attempt to take away the responsibility for killing an animal strictly because they like it.  You don’t “harvest” a deer, you “harvest” corn, or wheat.  Most hunters just “murder” animals because they like to kill.  There is plenty of food down at the store.)


(to) “Sleep In” vs (to) “Sleep Late” – Both of these phrases mean:  “to sleep later than usual” – however, to sleep late is done on accident or unintentionally – whereas to sleep in is done as a conscious decision.


(to) “Sleep Over” vs (to) “Over-Sleep” – To Over-Sleep means that one has slept past the time that he or she wanted to or needed to wake up, and this is done unintentionally –whereas to Sleep Over is a term (more often used by younger people) which means to spend the night and sleep at another person’s house…  “I slept over at my girlfriend’s house last night and we both totally overslept and were late getting to work.”


“Snooze” vs “Nap” – Though both of these words can be used as either a noun or a verb (and “snooze” as an adjective when referring to the “snooze button” on one’s alarm clock) to refer to a short period of sleep or the act of sleeping for a short period of time.  However, they are both most commonly used as nouns.  The main difference between the two terms is not in the meaning but in the verbs used with them when in the noun form…  “I’m going to take a nap.”  /  “I’m going to have a snooze.” (they are both used in the same way in the verb form.)


“So Do I” vs “Neither Do I” – So Do I is a phrase that is used to agree with a “positive” statement – Whereas, Neither do I is a phrase used to agree with a “negative” statement…  “I really like going on vacation.”  “So do I!”  –  “I really don’t like returning to work after a vacation.”  “Neither do I”  –  (See Also:  “Me too” vs “Me Neither”)


“Soap” vs “Soup” – This one is dedicated to all of my Spanish-speaking students…  The first word “Soap” is the stuff a person uses to wash their stinky body (or their stinky clothes, dishes, floor, apartment, etc.) – Whereas the second word “Soup” is the delicious food that you have to eat with a spoon (because it is mostly liquid.)…  “Don’t forget to wash your hands with soap before you start preparing the soup.”


“Sociable” vs “Outgoing” – Both of these adjectives are used to describe similar personality traits, however, they are not exactly the same thing.  To describe someone as being Outgoing means that they are not shy and like to, and are very comfortable with talking to new people and usually excel in social situations.  A perfect example of this (even though they can be quite “fake” and “annoying”) are people who are in sales.  They have to be outgoing in order to sell more (and that’s why they seem in-authentic.)  –  However, to be Sociable just means that a person likes, and is comfortable in social situations.  This type of person may actually be very shy about meeting new people, but when surrounded by friends is “the life of the party”.


“Sort” vs “Sort Out” – The verb Sort is used to describe when one organizes items in whatever way in necessary for the intended goal.  However, the phrasal verb sort out, although sometimes interchangeable, is used for more abstract things (ideas, concepts, information) rather than tangible “concrete” items.


“Sort Out” vs “Work Out” vs “Figure Out” – All three of these phrases are used to mean:  “To solve a problem”.  However – figure out is directly related to math (figure = number), so to figure out something literally means to find the solution for a math problem – sort out has more to do with organizing something…  So if the problem was deciding between a number of choices, then one could say, “we need to sort out who is the best candidate.” – If the situation was one that needed a solution but there was nothing with which to work with, then we could say (for example), “We need to work out a plan to achieve our goals.” (i.e.  to create one.)…  However, people who don’t think about the exact meaning of the words they use, consider all of these terms to be interchangeable.


“Spain” vs “Spanish”“Spain” is the term that we use only for the country itself – Whereas the term “Spanish” is the adjective form and is used to talk about the people, the language, and anything that is either from their or created in the style of a traditional thing from their (art, food, music, architecture)…  “We went to Tenerife in The Canary Islands for our second honeymoon.  Even though they are a territory of Spain, they actually much closer to Africa.  There, the people, of course, speak Spanish and most of the restaurant are of Spanish cuisine, but there are people there from all over Europe and the world, so there is a great mix of different cultures.”


“Sponsorship” vs “Endorsement” – An Endorsement is simply the act of saying “I like this product / person” and is usually done by a celebrity – Whereas a Sponsorship though often related, is giving some sort of financial or other kind of support to someone or something…  So quite often (as in the world of sports) a company will sponsor someone, and in turn that person will somehow endorse that company’s product, either by doing a commercial or by wearing, using, or somehow promoting that product in public.


“Stack” vs “Pile” – Both of these terms are very similar and can be used as nouns to describe a many things which are placed and arranged on top of each other, or as verbs to describe the action of creating a pile or a stack.  However, the difference between the two terms are that a stack or (to) stack is more organized/orderly, whereas a pile or (to) pile is much less organized even to the point of being chaotic and “messy”…  “I often through my dirty clothes into a pile in the corner of the room.  When I do the laundry, I have to separate the clothes into different piles according to color.  When the laundry is done I have to fold and stack the clothes nicely.  I separate the stacks of laundry between clothes, and things like towels and sheets.”


“Stereotype” vs “Cliche” – Though “stereotypes” are often though of as being “cliche” (and often are), not all things (ideas) that are thought of being “cliche” are “stereotypes”…  A cliche is a thought or idea that is not original; it is just repeated because it’s the new “thing to say” – Whereas a stereotype is a generalized idea, usually about some group of people.


“Stove” vs “Cooker” – As stated above (in “Cook” vs “Cooker“) to refer to a person who “Cooks” food, is a mistake.  However, the “-er” ending can also describe “things” which do an action also.  And in European English, the term Cooker can also be used to refer to the thing that one uses to cook the food.  In The Common Tongue, we would instead refer to that thing as a Stove.  But there are yet more problems.  For an explanation see: Stove” vs “Oven.


“Stove” vs “Oven” – These two terms are specifically referring to two different parts of the same unit (usually.)  The Stove is the top part of the unit which has the Hot-Plates for putting pots and pans on, and the Oven is the lower part that one puts things inside for “Baking”, Broiling, and actions that require the heat to completely surround the food rather than only coming from the bottom.  However, in The Common Tongue, when referring to the whole unit, we say Stove.  (Note Also: in European English, it is very common to refer to a Stove, a Hot-Plate, and an Oven all, as a Cooker.)


“Straight Away” vs “Right Away” – These are two adjectival phrases which are used to refer to exactly the same thing – That something is done (or happened) without any sort of delay…  Right Away is the American version and Straight Away is the European version.


“Stressed” vs “Stressed Out” – To be stressed simply means to be experiencing stress to the point that is having a detrimental effect on a person – Whereas to be stressed out means to be experiencing so much stress that one is no longer able to handle it.  –  (See:  “To be stressed out”)


“Stressed” vs “Stressful” – Both of these terms are adjectives, however we use the word Stressed to describe how a person is feeling – whereas, the word Stressful is used to describe situations which cause stress…  “This is a very stressful situation, and having to deal with this in addition to my regular duties is causing me to be very stressed.”


T


“Talkin’ Shit” / “Shit Talkin'” vs “Gossip” – There is really no complicated description needed here…  Girls Gossip…  Guys Talk Shit


“Tell” vs “Say” vs “Say To” – This has proven to be an often confusing bit of English for many people, but it doesn’t have to be.  Simply put:  The words Say and Tell are verbs used to describe some communication with a person or some people.  We use Say/Said with Direct Speech (quoting exactly the words that a person used.) and we use Tell/Told with Reported Speech (to talk about  what someone “said” rather than using the exact words.)  The only time that we add the preposition To to the verb Say is when it is not clear who the person is speaking to.  We do NOT use the preposition To with the verb Tell –  “John said to his wife, ‘I’m tired'” / “John said, ‘I’m tired'” / “John told his wife he was tired.”


“Temperature” vs “Weather” vs “Climate” – Climate refers to the average temperature of a place throughout the years (and in different seasons) – Weather is the broad term referring to any type of condition outdoors – and Temperature is just the measure of how hot or cold it is.


“That Is…” vs “This Is…” vs “That Was…” – These three terms can be used to talk about any sort of noun (person, place, animal, thing, or idea.)  The difference in which term to use to refer to the “thing” being talked about, has to do with proximity – either in time or space.  For tangible things:  If that “thing” is either in the speakers hands or right in front of him or her, then it is appropriate to use this is….  If the thing is further away (the actual space is relative), then it is appropriate to use, That Is...  When the “thing” is intangible (thought, idea, or subject being talked about): then, if the topic is still being talked about, then it is appropriate to use, This Is…, whereas if one is referring to something talked about in the past, it is appropriate to use, That Was….


“The Last Week” vs “The Past Week” – Both of these terms mean exactly the same thing.  They refer to the time from right now, back seven days of time.


“Theater” vs “Cinema” – In European English, the difference between these two words (with the article “the” in front, referring to the buildings) is that the cinema is where one would go to watch a movie, where-as the theater is where one would go to see a play.  In America, however, most of the local theaters (where one would go see a play) where converted into a place to see movies.  So in American English the theater is where one goes to watch a movie.  Without the article, used as abstract nouns, Cinema is referring to the whole world of movies and movie-making and Theater is the world of performing in, putting on, and attending “plays”.


“Theater” vs “Movie-Theater” – In America many people don’t ever, or have never been to see a play, so for those people, both of these terms means the same thing:  The place to go see a movie.  However, for people who actually have been to see a play (referring to traditional theater with live people performing some theatrical work) to make the distinction between the two, they will use the word theater to refer to the place to go see a play, and the term movie-theater to refer to the place to see a movie.  This is almost exclusively an “American Thing”.


“Theater” vs “Theatre” – Strictly speaking, the only difference between these two words is the spelling.  the first (with the “-er” spelling) is The Common Tongue version, and the second (with the “-re” spelling) is the European English spelling.  However, to make the distinction between the building where one would go to see a movie (The Common Tongue) and the world of theatrical performances, people who are directors, actors, or fans of the world of seeing live performances of theatrical works (often referred to simply as “plays”) use the European spelling…  (it makes them feel more sophisticated and special) 😉


“This” vs “That” – When referring to an object this usually refers to something that is in your hands, right in front of you, or very close in proximity – whereas that is used to refer to something further away…  When referring to some subject that is or was being talked about, this refers to something that you are still talking about and that is referring to something that was being talked about in the past.


“Through” vs “Throughout” – Though these terms are often used interchangeably, “throughout” should be used to refer to a duration of space and time – whereas “through” should be used to refer to things (physical things or abstract ideas.)…  “we have been through a lot together.”  –  “The people behind us chatted throughout the entire movie.” (this is referring to the length of time rather than the movie itself.)  –  “Through proper negotiation, I think that we can find a solution.”  –  “The people where celebrating throughout the entire village.” (referring to the area of the village.)


“Through” vs “Thru” – The difference between these two words is a perfect example of how marketing and popular culture has a direct and distinct effect on the language of a culture.  These two words mean the same thing: “Moving in one side and out of the other side of (an opening, channel, or location.)  However, the second word thru is a purposeful mis-spelling which was invented by the corporation MacDonald’s for their “Drive Thru” signs at their thousands of restaurants.  The word through was just too long to put on a sign.


“Time Off” vs “Vacation” – These phrases are almost always interchangeable, however, Time Off can simply be used to talk about the time that a person in not required to go to work, whereas Vacation (though being time off) is used to mean the time that someone does something “special” or travels during that person’s time off.


“Timid” vs “Shy” – Both of these phrases are used to describe someone’s personality and they can both be used to talk about how a person is behaving (…”she’s a very shy/timid person”) and they can both be used to describe someone’s behavior, however it is more common to use shy in this case, and the verbs used with them are different…  “She’s acting shy”  –  “She’s being timid”  –  (Please note:  These are not rules, this is just an explanation of common usage.)


“Tire” vs “Wheel” – The word “Tire” is referring to the rubber part of the wheel that is inflated with air and touches the road – whereas, the word “Wheel” is referring to the whole part (the inner metal part and the outer rubber tire…  “There are eighteen wheels on a typical semi-truck car and each one them has to have it’s tires checked regularly.”


“Too…” vs “Very…” – Both of these gradable adjectives are describing a large amount of something, however, “too” is to describe that it is not a good thing, and that there should be less, while “very” is simply describing that there is a lot of something and it is not a bad thing…  “There are all-together too many idiots and jerks in the world!  I can say that I would be very happy if they all just suddenly disappeared!”


“Trekking” vs “Hiking” – As far meaning is concerned, there is no difference between these terms.  Hiking is the American-English term and Trekking is the European-English version.


“Transport” vs “Transportation” – First of all, the word Transport is a verb which means to move something from one place to another, and the word Transportation is the subject noun to talk about the act of Transporting something.  But on another level, the word Transport is the British English term for the means that one uses to get from one place to another (e.g. car, train, bus, taxi, bicycle) – Whereas, in The Common Tongue, the word Transportation is used for the same thing…  British:  “I don’t really like using public transport.” – Common Tongue:  “I sure wish we had better public transportation here in America.”


“Truthfully…” vs “Frankly…” vs “Honestly…” – When a person starts a sentence with any of these words (or the similar phrases: to be honest, quite frankly, truthfully speaking, etc.) it means that they feel that the following information is going to be uncomfortable for the person hearing it and that they may not be happy to hear it.  They are usually used in answer to a question.  The only difference between the three is that “Honestly” and “Truthfully” are used to be more polite – Whereas “Frankly” is used when the person speaking doesn’t really care how the other person feel…  “Do you think this outfit looks good on me?” – “Truthfully, I think it that you would look better in a darker color.” / “Honestly, I don’t think that it compliments your figure.” / “Frankly, I don’t think it is at all appropriate to wear a sequined bikini to the office.”


“Try And…” vs “Try To…” – These two phrases (followed by some verb) are VERY often mistaken.  Basically the difference is that, to express how both of these are used, then the phrase Try And… is a mistake.  This is because the main verb is the verb “Try”.  When there is a verb following the word “And”, then the there are two separate actions…  To say, “I’m going to try and explain this to you so you understand.”  means there are two things happening, I’m going to “try” and I’m going to “explain”.  Trying is not doing!  Despite this, the clause about trying is not a finished thought.  Grammatically, it should be, “I’m going to try to explain this to you.” – here, “going to” puts it into the future, try is the verb, and “to explain” describes what is going to be tried.  –  Read the Full Post Here


U


“Un-Motivated” vs “De-Motivated” – If is a person is un-motivated that simply means that the person is NOT motivated (for whatever reason.)  However if a person is de-motivated, this implies that the person WAS, at one time, motivated but some condition or situation has caused that person to loose the motivation that he or she once had.


“Under Control” vs “In-Hand” –  Though the term “Out of Hand” is used to say something is NOT under control, the “opposite” – saying that something is in-hand is very rarely used in this way.  Instead the adjectival phrase in-hand is almost always used literally to say that something is actually “in” one’s “hand”.  To say that something is the opposite of “Out of Hand”, we almost always use the phrase Under Control…  “With his drink in-hand he thought he had is night *under control”…  but he was wrong.”  😉


“Until” vs “By” – These two time references are often mistaken as they are related, but indicate near opposite conditions.  To say that one will do/have/be something By a certain time in the future – means that, that condition is not now present, but will be at the appointed time in the future.  To say that someone will do/have/be something Until a certain time in the future – means, that the condition is now present, but will stop being so at the appointed time in the future…  “By the time you finish reading this, you will be a super-genius!” (translation:  you aren’t yet… but you will be) – “I will continue to rule the know Universe until I get bored or there is a new episode of Game Of Thrones.” (translation:  I AM the ruler of the Universe, but I will stop being so as soon as I get bored with it.)


“Up The Lane/Road/Street” vs “Down The Lane/Road/Street” – There are actually a few reasons why we would say these different phrases.  1st. we say “Down” if the road is actually going down a hill or incline.  We also say “Down” if the numbers for the addresses are actually going down, and of course just the opposite for both reasons using the word “Up”.  The other reason is a little more obscure…  Since “Downtown” is usually in the center of the town, and “Uptown” is referring to the “rich” part of town, which (if geographically possible) is in the area that overlooks the town from above (because rich people are better than the rest 😀 ) then we say “Down” to mean going towards the center, and “Up” when heading away from the center.  –  (This last reason is of course contestable)


V


“Vacation” vs “Holiday” – The difference between these two terms is a good example of a difference between American and European English.  In American English a Holiday is any day that is celebrated as a special day on the calendar on which most people get time off of work, and can be anything from a religious holidays (“Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza,) to cultural holidays (Halloween, New Year’s Eve, Valentine’s Day) to State and National Holidays (Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day).  However, a Vacation is an extended period of time off of work (or school) strictly for the sake of having some time off.  Whereas in European English a Holiday is any time off and a Vacation is only when one travels somewhere during that time off.


“Vacation” vs “Time Off” – These phrases are almost always interchangeable, however, Time Off can simply be used to talk about the time that a person in not required to go to work, whereas Vacation (though being time off) is used to mean the time that someone does something “special” or travels during that person’s time off.


“Valued” vs “Appreciated” – These terms are fairly similar, however, if someone is appreciated then that persons worth (usually in a company or organization) is recognized.  Whereas to say someone is valued, usually means that that person is appreciated (though not always.  They might be a total jerk but just really good at making sales.)  The main difference is that the person holds some “value” to the company or organization and without that the person, the company or organization would almost definitely suffer in some way.  And unfortunately, the person who is only appreciated might be missed if they left, but the company/organization would probably do just fine without that person.


“Very…” vs “Too…” – Both of these gradable adjectives are describing a large amount of something, however, “too” is to describe that it is not a good thing, and that there should be less, while “very” is simply describing that there is a lot of something and it is not a bad thing…  “There are all-together too many idiots and jerks in the world!  I can say that I would be very happy if they all just suddenly disappeared!”


“Voucher” vs “Coupon” – By definition these words are virtually the same, however in The Common Tongue, a coupon is usually something given freely to be used as a discount and is not a significant savings.  However, a voucher is usually given as a “reward” for purchasing something else, and is to be used to receive a slightly larger discount than a coupon.


W


“Wage” vs “Salary” – The word “wage” is used to refer to the money that a person earns when he or she is paid by the hour.  The word “salary” is used to refer to the money that a person earns when he or she is paid a certain regular amount of money every month, regardless of how many hours he or she spends working in that time.


“Waiter/Waitress” vs “Server” – The word Server is a rather “new” term, that came about due to sexism in the feminist and political correctness movement.  Even though Waiter was the masculine term and Waitress was the feminine term for a person who brings you food at a restaurant, it is becoming more and more common (at least in America) that they are both just referred to as Server…  There is also the idea that Server sounds more sophisticated and respectful, whereas Waiter and Waitress are the terms used for cheap and low-quality restaurants.  Either way, they are all words which describe, people who bring you food at a restaurant, only Server is genderless.


“Washer”/”Washing-Machine” vs “Dish-Washer” – A Dish-Washer is the machine that washes dishes, whereas a Washer is a shortened version of the term Washing-Machine, which is the machine that washes clothes.  So why not call that the Clothes-Washer?  Well, because the Washing-Machine was invented LONG before the Dish-Washer and since it was the only machine like it, people had gotten used to calling it the Washing-Machine, and then, simply, the Washer…  So, years later, when the Dish-Washer was invented – which was just another type of machine that washed things – people had to distinguish it from the one that people had already been calling the Washing-Machine or Washer.


“Watch” vs “Look At” – The phrase “Look At” is used to refer to focusing one’s visual attention on something which is not moving (like at painting, a scene, really anything which is not moving.)  Whereas, “Watch” is a verb used to refer to focusing one’s attention on something which is moving (a movie, a TV show, some guy walking down the street picking his nose thinking that no one sees him)…  “I’m looking at the report right now and I don’t like what I see.”  –  “I would rather watch Game of Thrones, than listen to you complain.”


“Watch A Movie” vs “See A Movie” – In “normal” speech, to see something is a very general way of saying that the image of some “thing” is registered by our visual sensory apparatus, while to watch something means to be focused on that “thing” (usually moving) – However, when using these two verbs to talk about Movies or Films (whichever term you prefer) – they have different meanings…  –   Read the Full Post Here


“Weather” vs “Temperature” vs “Climate” – Climate refers to the average temperature of a place throughout the years (and in different seasons) – Weather is the broad term referring to any type of condition outdoors – and Temperature is just the measure of how hot or cold it is.


(I/We/Someone)‘ll Consider It” vs “It’s Worth Considering” – The first major difference between these two phrases is that “I’ll consider it” is a verb phrase describe what someone will do (or so they say.)  Whereas, “It’s worth considering” is use adjectivally to describe the quality of something (usually an idea or proposal.)  However the verb phrase is often used as a way to buy some time when the person saying it does not want to give an answer right at that time, where as the adjectival phrase is used when it is actually thought to be a good possibility…  “What do you think of my proposal?” – “We’ll I think that it’s definitely worth considering.” = Good!  –  “Well, we’ll definitely consider it.” = We think it’s crap but we don’t want to tell you to your face, so we’re just going to lie to you instead.


“Well” vs “Good” – The use of these two words can be easy to mix up.  This is especially true when many native speakers use them improperly.  Good is an adjective used to describe some “thing” – “This book is really good!” – “My use of English is not so good.”  “That doesn’t look very good”…  Whereas Well is an adverb which is used to describe how something is done or is going – OR – how a person is feeling – “That didn’t go so well.” – “I’m not feeling very well.” – ” You don’t look well.”


“Wheel” vs “Tire” – The word “Tire” is referring to the rubber part of the wheel that is inflated with air and touches the road – whereas, the word “Wheel” is referring to the whole part (the inner metal part and the outer rubber tire…  “There are eighteen wheels on a typical semi-truck car and each one them has to have it’s tires checked regularly.”


“With The Permission Of…” vs “On The Permission of…” – Both of these phrases mean the same thing and can be used interchangeably.  The only possible difference is that “On” (as opposed to “With”) may be slightly more formal.


“Wink” vs “Blink”Blink is what you do with your eyelids in order to moisturize your eyes and this usually happens naturally.  Wink is what you do when you only close one eye, and is usually done as a form of friendly greeting, a flirtation, or a show of some sort of understanding or secret between the one winking and the one who is being winked at.


“With The Invitation” vs “On The Invitation” – Essentially there isn’t a lot of difference in the meaning of these two phrases and they can be used interchangeably, however to explain why we would say “On” instead of “With”…  On the invitation is used when it is for a more formal situation or to describe a situation that is not an event but an invitation to hold a certain position, whereas with the invitation is used to describe when there is an actual physical invitation…  “With the invitation in hand, I left for the party.”  –  “On/With the invitation of the president of the company, I took over the position of the new head of cool and over-all awesomeness.”  –  (Notice that either preposition works in the second example.)


“Work” vs “Job” – The fact that these words are often used interchangeably, they are quite often confused.  The easiest way to differentiate them is in their parts of speech.  “Job” is a countable noun, whereas “work” is uncountable –  “I have a job in the center of the city.  My work is predominantly with helping people figure out what they want to do with their lives.”… The part where is gets confusing for many people is when we say things like:  “I have to go to work now.”  but here it is being used in its infinitive form to say that the person is going to the place where they work to do their job…  Just try to remember that job is a subject noun referring to the position one holds at a company, whereas work is used to describe the actions of that job.


“Work” vs “Workload” – The word noun form of the word work (as opposed to workload) is referring to the subject of all of your work.  E.g., my work as a teacher is to educate people on the English language. – Whereas workload (as opposed to work) is used to refer to the actual “things” that one has to do at the moment or a period of time…  “With over 85 students, my current workload is quite high.”  /  “I currently have a very heavy workload.”


“Work Out” vs “Figure Out” vs “Sort Out” – All three of these phrases are used to mean:  “To solve a problem”.  However – figure out is directly related to math (figure = number), so to figure out something literally means to find the solution for a math problem – sort out has more to do with organizing something…  So if the problem was deciding between a number of choices, then one could say, “we need to sort out who is the best candidate.” – If the situation was one that needed a solution but there was nothing with which to work with, then we could say (for example), “We need to work out a plan to achieve our goals.” (i.e.  to create one.)…  However, people who don’t think about the exact meaning of the words they use, consider all of these terms to be interchangeable.


(to be) “Worried” vs (to be) “Concerned” – Although these two phrases are very similar and are sometimes (by some people) used interchangeably, there is a distinct difference.  First of all, to Worry (verb) or (to be) Worried (adjectival verb phrase) is referring to a feeling of helplessness about a situation that a person has a distinct fear about resulting in a certain way.  This state or action only causes anxiety and physical maladies in the person without helping the situation in any way…  However, to be Concerned means that the person is thinking about a certain situation that he or she certainly does not want to result in a certain way, however, the emotions related to fear are kept under control so that the person can act constructively about the situation if there is a possibility to do so.  Therefore there are no detrimental effects to the person’s mind or body.  –   Read the Full Post Here


“Worse” vs “The Worst” – Simply put, “Worse” is the comparative form of the adjective “bad”, to describe something being “more bad” than another thing, whereas “The Worst” is the superlative form of the adjective “bad”, use to say that it is the “most bad” and that there is nothing “badder”…  “The Blair Witch Project was the worst movie I’ve ever seen.  It was even worse than the first Twilight movie!”  –  (Please note that “more bad”, “most bad”, and “badder” is improper English and was only used to illustrate the point.)


X


Y


Z


“ZEE” vs “ZED” – the pronunciation of the letter “Z” in The Common Tongue is /zee/ – /ziː/, whereas, in European and Australian English, the letter “Z” is pronounced /zehd/ – /zɛɾ/…  Either one is perfectly fine to use, however is is quite possible for an American to get confused by this as “Zed” is (or was) a man’s name.


–  (This vs That)  –

10 Responses

  1. April 12, 2016

    […] can find more similar words that are commonly mistaken on the “This” vs “That” Page of The GiveMeSomeEnglish!!! – Lexis […]

  2. April 12, 2016

    […] can find more similar words that are commonly mistaken on the “This” vs “That” Page of The GiveMeSomeEnglish!!! – Lexis […]

  3. April 14, 2016

    […] post is a quick one, that comes to us from the “This” vs “That” section of the GiveMeSomeEnglish!!! Lexis […]

  4. April 14, 2016

    […] “Tid-Bits” comes to us from the “This” vs “That” section of the GiveMeSomeEnglish!!! Lexis […]

  5. July 25, 2016

    […] posted on the “This” vs “That” page of the GiveMeSomeEnglish!!! – Lexis […]

  6. July 25, 2016

    […] Also:  “Look At” vs “Watch” on the “This” vs “That” page of the GiveMeSomeEnglish!!! Lexis […]

  7. July 30, 2016

    […] posted on the “This” vs “That” page of the GiveMeSomeEnglish!!! – Lexis […]

  8. August 4, 2016

    […] “Tid-Bits” comes to us from the “This” vs “That” section of the GiveMeSomeEnglish!!! Lexis […]

  9. August 14, 2016

    […] posted on the “This” vs “That” page of the GiveMeSomeEnglish!!! – Lexis […]

  10. September 11, 2016

    […] can find more similar words that are commonly mistaken on the “This” vs “That” Page of The GiveMeSomeEnglish!!! – Lexis […]

What's On Your Mind

Yo!