|https://rentry.co/difference-extra||notice, spot, sight, catch sight of, catch smb's eye/the eye of smb, detect, observe, become aware/conscious of, perceive|
- Adhere vs Stick
- Although vs Though
- Apparent vs Obvious
- Apprehension vs Anxiety vs Fear
- Arouse vs Rouse
- Assimilate vs Understand
- Assist vs Help vs Aid vs Facilitate
- Bear vs Relate vs Pertain vs Appertain vs Belong vs Apply
- Because vs Since vs As vs For +
- Capable vs Able
- Clarify vs Explain
- Close vs Shut
- Complicated vs Complex
- Compose vs Compound
- Comprehend vs Understand
- Confront vs Face
- Confuse vs Bewilder
- Consist vs Comprise vs Compose
- Conversion vs Coercion vs Cast (programming)
- Devestate vs Crumble vs Destroy vs Demolish vs Collapse
- Discover vs Disclose
- Due to vs Because of
- Each other vs One another
- Each vs Every
- Finish vs Finish with
- For verb-ing vs To infinitive vs For noun
- Force vs Coerce
- Grasp vs Grab
- Grasp vs Grip
- Induce vs Persuade
- Inquire vs Ask
- Mud vs Dirt
- Offend vs Insult
- Only vs Solely vs Just
- Patient vs Tolerant
- Persuade vs Assure
- Point at vs Point to vs Point out
- Possibility vs Opportunity
- Postpone vs Put off vs Hold off
- Shame vs Mortify vs Embarrass vs Abash
- Shortage vs Lack vs Deficiency
- Slight vs Subtle vs Delicate +
- Stain vs Spot
- Stir vs Mix vs Whisk
- Sustain vs Maintain vs Retain
- Tension vs Stress
- Tie vs Bind
- Till vs Untill
- To vs In order to
- Tombstone vs Gravestone vs Headstone
- Ultimately vs Eventually
- Under vs Underneath vs Beneath vs Below
- Vital vs Essential vs Crucial
Adhere vs Stick#
As others have said, they are close synonyms, and the only real difference
is that stick is both more common and less formal than adhere.
This is an excellent example of the many words in English for which an
“original” English word (descending from a Germanic root word) has a “later”
synonym or near-synonym (with a French root).
(modern) German, stechen = stick.
(modern) French, adhérer = adhere.
There are hundreds or thousands of words in modern English that also follow
this pattern. In almost every case, the French-rooted word sounds more
“refined” or “dignified” than the older Germanic-rooted word, and the
French-rooted word is less common (sometimes much less common).
This happened as a result of the Norman (northwest France) conquest of
England in CE 1066, i.e., almost 1000 years ago. For several hundred years
after that victory, France ruled England, and French was the language of the
nobility, while the common folk spoke a kind of English that was really a
dialect of Low German. Gradually, many thousands of French words were
absorbed into English, but those words retained their feeling of
“dignity/refinement/sophistication,” until today.
Although vs Though#
As conjunctions, although and though are interchangeable. Although is
generally considered more formal than though, though both forms appear
regularly in both formal and informal writing.
Growth in Europe is maintaining momentum, although the risks related to
peripheral economies have increased.
Unlike the other comparisons, however, this one is apt, though perhaps not
in a way Cantor intended.
Though is also an adverb meaning however or nevertheless. In this sense,
though is not interchangeable with although, which is only a conjunction.
This weekend, though, theaters were packed.
There was another twist to come, though, as Pavlyuchenkova defied her
flagging fortunes to win three games in succession.
Apparent vs Obvious#
Something that's obvious is something that you can see it and you know that
it's true. It's obvious that birds can fly. I see birds flying every day.
Something that's apparent is something that you can see it and it looks like
it's true, but it might not be true. There might be another explanation for
it. But it looks like it's true. It "appears" to be true. Apparently not
all birds can fly. I've heard that penguins can't fly and I've heard that
other types of birds can't fly. So even though I see birds flying every
day, apparently there are some types of birds that can't fly.
Apprehension vs Anxiety vs Fear#
Apprehension means to grasp something, have a fear of something which
is going to happen. example - his first apprehension of large issues
is always very different from mine.
Anxiety means a strong desire to do something, nervousness, uneasy
about something that is going to happen. example - she may often
suffer from anxiety attacks.
Fear means to be scared of something that is painful, an unpleasant
emotion caused by the threat of danger, pain or harm. example - his
fear for needles is so strong that he might faint just be seeing them.
Arouse vs Rouse#
Rouse and arouse are both used in formal contexts. Arouse means ‘make
someone have a particular feeling’:
Both lecturers aroused a lot of interest in the subject of geology.
Rouse means ‘wake someone up’ or ‘make someone active’:
The goal roused the supporters and they began to really get behind the team.
(get behind means ‘support’)
We also use rouse as a reflexive verb:
She finally roused herself at lunchtime and got out of bed.
Assimilate vs Understand#
When talking about different cultures, to understand a culture is to know
what it is like and how the people of the culture live.
To assimilate into a culture is to not only understand it, but join it by
living the way of culture yourself.
Assist vs Help vs Aid vs Facilitate#
Facilitate is often used in situations where material help is provided.
Aid is used in cases where the person receiving help is in dire need of
it. Aid has to do with things like healing, bringing someone up, and less
of making something easier. More like a mix between helping and assistance.
Help is to do anything that makes something easier for a person.
Assist is to add your efforts to someone else's.
I think it might help to look at the origins of the words to understand the
differences between them.
Help has Germanic origins and was used in a broad manner of senses that we
tend to understand in common usage.
Aid has Old French origins, the Latin root means "to help" as in the broad
Assist has Middle French origins, the Latin root means "to take one's stand"
and can probably be understood to mean standing by one's side in support.
Facilitate has Latin origins in that "Facilis" refers to ease as in easy and
the Modern French conjugation "Faciliter" which means to make easy. Note
Facile which means "easily accomplished."
I have ordered the words in the sequence they entered the English language;
typically, older words tend to have a more common usage whereas newer words
tend to be used to "sound smarter" rather than to mean something different.
Thus, "I need help with something" and "this task requires external
facilitation" mean pretty much the same thing, but the latter sounds
Bear vs Relate vs Pertain vs Appertain vs Belong vs Apply#
Bear, relate, pertain, appertain, belong, apply are comparable when used
intransitively with the meaning to have a connection, especially a logical
One thing bears on or upon another thing when the first touches so directly
upon the second (usually something in question) as to carry appreciable
weight in its solution or in the understanding of issues it involves.
One thing relates to another thing when there is some connection between
them which permits or, more often, requires them to be considered together
with reference to their effect upon each other.
The connection implied is usually closer in the intransitive than in the
transitive verb (see JOIN), being commonly one of dependence or
One thing pertains or appertains to another when there is a connection that
permits their association in practice or thought.
Both of these words are more widely applicable than bear and relate, for
they cover not only the connections specifically implied in those words but
also those close connections implied by belong and those remote connections
implied by have to do with; thus, the things that pertain to happiness are
all the things that can be thought of as causing, contributing to,
preventing, or affecting the quality of happiness.
Pertain more often implies a necessary connection or a very close relation
than the more formal appertain, which commonly suggests an incidental or
Belong, usually with to, implies a relation in which one thing is a part or
element without which another cannot exist, function, have its true
character or being, or be complete.
In this sense a thing that belongs is a property, an attribute, a duty, or a
But belong also may be used of things as they pertain to persons, then
implying possession or informally of persons with reference to their
qualifications for fitting into a group, especially a social group.
Apply, also with to, implies a relation in which a more inclusive category
(as a law, a principle, a rule, a theory, a general term) covers a less
inclusive specific instance, usually also explaining, interpreting, or
describing the latter or having some clear bearing upon it.
Because vs Since vs As vs For +#
Because is used when the reason is the most important part of the sentence
or utterance. The because clause usually comes at the end:
I went to Spain last summer because I wanted the guarantee of sunshine on
every day of my holiday.
As and since are used when the reason is already well known and is therefore
usually less important. The as or since clause is usually placed at the
beginning of the sentence
As the performance had already started, we went up to the balcony and
occupied some empty seats there.
Since John had already eaten, I made do with a sandwich.
For suggests that the reason is given as an afterthought. It is never
placed at the beginning of the sentence and is more characteristic of
written, rather than spoken English:
I decided to stop the work I was doing - for it was very late and I wanted
to go to bed.
Capable vs Able#
One main difference is the preposition that usually follows each of
these words. Typically, you see able to, but capable of.
Other than that, pick a dictionary, look the two words up. I'm citing
- having the necessary power, resources, skill, time, opportunity, etc, to do something ⇒ able to swim
- capable; competent; talented ⇒ an able teacher
- (law) qualified, competent, or authorized to do some specific act
- having ability, esp in many different fields; competent
- able or having the skill (to do something) ⇒ she is capable of hard work
- having the temperament or inclination (to do something) ⇒ he seemed capable of murder
You can see a lot of overlap, particularly with definitions #1 & #2
for capable, and definition #2 for able. Both words mean competent;
plus, able means capable, and capable means able. This means there
will be several contexts where either word could be used:
Sammy is an able electrician; I would recommend him.
Tammie is a capable electrician; I would recommend her.
Evan has shown he is able to reach the green from the tee box.
Kevin has shown he is capable of reaching the green from the tee box.
However, the definitions also show instances where one word couldn't
be exchanged for the other:
I have to catch a flight; I won't be able to hold the meeting this afternoon.
This is able Definition #1; capable is not appropriate here.
Because I didn't apply in time, I won't be able to start college this fall.
This is able Definition #3; capable is not appropriate here.
Melvin is a lazy student; he isn't capable of finishing college.
This is capable Definition #3; able is less appropriate here.
Dorothy doesn't know what she is doing; she isn't capable of holding the meeting today.
This is capable Definition #1; but able might be appropriate here.
Clarify vs Explain#
People may use them as synonyms, but there is a slight difference:
when something is not understood, it needs to be explained. So explanation
leads to understanding.
When something is misunderstood, or when some details are not understood, it
needs to be clarified. So clarification leads to better understanding.
Close vs Shut#
The word close is used as a verb and a noun while the word shut is
only used as a verb.
The word shut is used to give the meaning of ‘fully close’. Observe the two
sentences given below:
Please shut the door.
Amanda shut her lips tight.
On the other hand, the word close gives the meaning of ‘enclose’ or ‘block’
or ‘cover’. This is the difference between the two words. Look at the
Please close the door.
Rahul kept closing his eyes and nodding off during the chairman’s speech.
The word close is primarily used in the sense ‘fitting tightly’ as in the
sentence given below.
Close the bottle with the lid and keep it in the box.
It is interesting to note that the word close is often followed by the
preposition ‘by’ or ‘with’ as in the sentences given below.
The bank will be closed by 3 pm.
Please close the tank with the stopper.
The verb close is an antonym for open. Therefore, we can say things like:
Why did you close (or shut) the window? Please open it again.
Please shut (or close) the door. Otherwise, the cat might get out.
In addition to doors, windows, briefcases, and cages, though, we can also
open and close things like highways, runways, and restaurants. In this
sense of the word, shut does not function like an antonym – at least, not in
American English (the following examples don’t seem to hold true in British
English, based on some informative comments beneath my original answer):
Oak Street is closed due to flooding. We will have to find another way there.
Oak Street is shut...)
The restaurant is closed. Let’s go find someplace else to eat.
The restaurant is shut...)
As an aside, the phrasal verb shut down can be used in a similar way as
closed, but that often connotes a longer period of inaccessibility:
That restaurant was shut down three months ago.
Put another way, a pub may have a closing time, but it will not have a
Complicated vs Complex#
Complex is used to refer to the level of components in a system. If a
problem is complex, it means that it has many components. Complexity does
not evoke difficulty.
On the other hand, complicated refers to a high level of difficulty. If a
problem is complicated, there might be or might not be many parts but it
will certainly take a lot of hard work to solve.
Compose vs Compound#
For a normal conversation you would use:
Water is composed of hydrogen and oxygen
But scientifically or in the context of chemistry (to be more precise), you
would use the 2nd statement which would be:
Water is a compound of hydrogen and oxygen
Although, both can be used anywhere and have the same meaning, I have
categorized it just for a better understanding.
When we use the word compose, the meaning can be derived as
'created or made up'. Whereas when we use the word compound, it would
mean as 'ingredient'.
One may use the words depending on the level of detail s/he wants to
Water is a composition of hydrogen and oxygen molecules.
Water is a compound of two hydrogen molecules and an oxygen molecule.
Comprehend vs Understand#
According to the dictionary, comprehend simply means understand, but to me
the connotations are slightly different. Comprehend seems more
"comprehensive" -- I would describe it as a deeper and more complete level of
I also see comprehend as dealing more with ability, the mental capacity to
grasp something. For instance, I would say "I understand French, I
comprehend physics." In terms of French, I either know what the words mean
or I don't, it's (arguably) not a conceptual leap. For physics, I actually
need to see the world in a different way.
You might say that a child comprehends a lesson, but only if it represents
an actual conceptual advance, not just memorization.
Confront vs Face#
The only difference is that "confront" tends to imply that the action
is more aggressive than "face". For example (to illustrate the difference
only) - If I confront something, maybe I choose to attack it. If I face it,
it is attacking me and I defend myself.
You can face a situation or a difficulty without confronting it. If you are
faced with a problem, it simply means that it exists, it is in your way. If
you then go on to confront it, then you start to deal with it.
Every day I face an uncomfortable journey to work because there is a man on
the train who stares at me. Yesterday, I confronted the man who stares at
me. He apologised and said he won't do it again. I'm glad I won't have to
face that problem again.
They are similar, but face has a broader range of meanings.
Confront = a little aggressive, it means to actively engage with with a
person or situation.
Jason ran up and confronted the man who was trying to steal his car.
It would have been easier to ignore the environmental problems, but the
prime minister chose to confront them head-on and develop a plan to change
Face = you are in the presence of a person or situation. It can be passive,
where you have not taken any action.
When Jennifer discovered she had cancer, she faced some difficult decisions
about whether to have surgery.
I faced the mirror and looked at my reflection.
Confuse vs Bewilder#
The definitions of the two are as follows:
- archaic: to bring to ruin
- a. to make embarrassed : abash
b. to disturb in mind or purpose : throw off
- a. to make indistinct : blur
b. to mix indiscriminately : jumble
c. to fail to differentiate from an often similar or related other
- to cause to lose one's bearings
- to perplex or confuse especially by a complexity, variety, or multitude of objects or considerations
Additionally, they are listed as synonyms, so I would say it is safe to use them interchangeably where their meanings overlap. Just make sure it's a case where they do mean the same.
One example where they aren't interchangeable:
I confused you with your sister.
Means I couldn't tell the difference, or thought one was the other.
I bewildered you with your sister.
Means I used your sister to cause you confusion. Granted, the first example could mean that, but wouldn't be understood in that sense.
Consist vs Comprise vs Compose#
Consist, comprise and compose are all verbs used to describe what something is ‘made of’. We don’t use them in continuous forms.
Their diet only consisted of fruit and seeds.
The whole group consists of students.
We only use the active form of consist of:
Their flat consists of two bedrooms, a kitchen and a bathroom.
Their flat is consisted of two bedrooms…
Comprise is more formal than consist:
The USA comprises 50 states.
We can also use it in the passive voice in the form ‘be comprised of’:
The course is comprised of ten lectures and five seminars on the theory of economics and banking.
Comprise, but not compose, can be used with the parts that make up something as the subject:
Oil and coal comprise 70% of the nation’s exports.
Compose of is even more formal than consist of and comprise. Compose of is only used in the passive voice:
Muscle is composed of different types of protein.
We don’t use consist, comprise and compose in a continuous form:
The whole group consists of students.
The whole group is consisting of students.
Conversion vs Coercion vs Cast (programming)#
The word conversion refers to either implicitly or explicitly changing
a value from one data type to another, e.g. a 16-bit integer to a
The word coercion is used to denote an implicit conversion.
The word cast typically refers to an explicit type conversion (as
opposed to an implicit conversion), regardless of whether this is a
re-interpretation of a bit-pattern or a real conversion.
Devestate vs Crumble vs Destroy vs Demolish vs Collapse#
From the group you listed, let’s first pull out crumble and collapse. Their
big difference from the others is that they don’t necessarily mean the end
of something. A wall of any kind can crumble or partially collapse and
still function as a wall. A person can emotionally crumble (metaphorically)
and recover. When a news report says someone has collapsed, however, it
usually means they’ve at least fallen unconscious or to the ground. Think
of all of their joints going soft at once. And of course, if a building
collapses, it may be catastrophic, but it could also be just one wall, or
the roof. At the least, look for more information about a crumble or
It makes a difference that devastate (note that one bit of spelling),
destroy, and demolish all begin with de-, which often means “down.” it gives
you a clue that they’re used to talk about more complete destruction (and
there it is again, with a piece of the word that looks even more like
structure). When one of these words happens, it’s usually very serious.
The thing or person that was devastated or demolished can’t just go on; they
will face significant work to repair or recover. Now, these words are often
used hyperbolically, suggesting a worse situation than reality, but you
should know better now.
Destroy: to completely break apart. Example- The cake was destroyed = the
cake fell out the window and smashed on the ground.
Collapse: to fall in on itself suddenly. Similar in strength to destroy,
but has the specific meaning of structural failure. The cake collapsed = it
was one of those very tall cakes, and it fell over.
Note: “destroy” is often intentional. “collapse” generally is not. This is
not a strict rule.
Demolish: to purposely destroy. Example - They demolished the old house and
put up four townhouses.
Crumble: to break into small pieces over a long period of time. Example -
The building crumbled and broke into small pieces.
Devastate: Often used as an adjective for extreme sadness - “He was
devastated by the death of his mother.” When used for physical things, it
means causing widespread destruction.
Discover vs Disclose#
When you discover something you find it out for yourself/learn it/ become
aware of the information.
When you disclose something (usually a secret or
information other people don't know) you are making it known/ telling other
people about it.
Due to vs Because of#
"Due to is mostly used in formal or official contexts. In
everyday English, people usually use because of: We cancelled the picnic
because of the weather."
From American Heritage Dictionary:
"Due to has been widely used for many years as a compound preposition like
owing to, but some critics have insisted that due should be used only as an
adjective. According to this view, it is incorrect to say The concert was
canceled due to the rain, but acceptable to say The cancellation of the
concert was due to the rain, where due continues to function as an adjective
modifying cancellation. This seems a fine point, however, and since due to
is widely used and understood, there seems little reason to avoid using it
as a preposition."
Each other vs One another#
We use each other and one another to show that each person in a group of two
or more people does something to the others. There is very little
difference between each other and one another and we can normally use them
in the same places. Each other is more common than one another:
Rick and Gina never liked each other. (Rick never liked Gina and Gina never liked Rick.)
Everyone in the family gave each other presents. (Each member of the family gave each member of the family a present.)
A: How’s Maria? Do you see her often?
B: She’s great. We phone each other/one another regularly.
We use each other’s and one another’s as possessive determiners:
Lisa and Kate hated each other’s husbands. (Lisa hated Kate’s husband and Kate hated Lisa’s husband.)
My friend Olivia and I know very little about one another’s work.
Be careful not to use us or ourselves instead of each other/one another:
We’ve known each other/one another for twelve years.
We’ve known us for twelve years or We’ve known ourselves
Each vs Every#
We use each to refer to individual things in a group or a list of two or
more things. It is often similar in meaning to every, but we use every to
refer to a group or list of three or more things.
We use adverbs such as almost, practically and nearly with every, but not
Almost every car in the car park was new.
Almost each car …
Practically every house now has at least two televisions.
Practically each house …
We can use each of + pronoun or each of + determiner + noun, but with every
we must use every one + pronoun or every one + determiner + noun:
Each of us has a bicycle.
Every one of us has a bicycle.
Every of us …
Each of the children received a special gift.
Every one of the children received a special gift.
Every of the children …
Finish vs Finish with#
The two uses are slightly different:
"I've finished activity" means you've completed the activity - "I've
finished using my camera".
"I've finished with object" means you're no longer using the object, and
it's now free for someone else to use - "I've finished with my camera".
So, in "I've finished my meal", my meal is the act of eating dinner, whereas
in "I've finished with my meal", my meal is the food you were eating, but
which can now be disposed of (either by being thrown away, or by someone
else finishing it for you).
As a side note, there's a colloquial usage "I've finished with person" in
British English, which means "I've ended my romantic relationship with
For verb-ing vs To infinitive vs For noun#
For + *verb-ing*
We use ‘for + verb-ing’ to talk about the function of an
object. It’s used when we want to explain what something is generally used
for or what its purpose is.We DON’T use ‘for + infinitive’.
A camera is for taking photos. (NOT: for take photos)
The headphones are for listening to music.
What’s this for? (=what does this do /what is the function or purpose of this object?)
This knife is for chopping onions.
To + *infinitive*
When we want to talk about someone's intention or goal, about
why they are doing something, we need to use 'to + infinitive'.
In this case, the subject of the sentence is a person.
I went to London to study English (NOT:
*for studying / for study)
I'm going home relax (NOT:
for relaxing / for relax)
She sat down to read.
He went to the library to study.*
For + *noun*
We can also use 'for' with a noun (NOT with verb-ing) to talk
about someone's intentions or goals.
I went to the shop for milk.
I went to the shop to buy milk.
I went to the shop for buying milk)
Some verbs (or adjectives or nouns) need ‘to + infinitive’ or
‘for + verb-ing’ as part of their patterns. This is different from the uses
I’ve talked about above, because here we are not always talking about
purpose. ‘To +infinitive’ and ‘for + verb-ing’ don’t have a special meaning
when they are part of a verb pattern. It’s just that this construction
always follows this verb or adjective. These are some examples, but there are
Decide + to + infinitive: I’ve decided to go home.
Promise + to + infinitive: She promised to arrive early.
Ask someone+ to + infinitive: John asked Lucy to pass the salt.
Want + to + infinitive: I want to buy a new coat.
Be sorry + for + verb-ing / noun: I’m sorry for breaking your vase.
Apologise + for + verb-ing / noun: He apologised for forgetting about the meeting.
Thank someone + for + verb-ing / noun: Thank you for helping me.
Reward someone for + verb-ing / noun: The police rewarded him for finding the stolen car.
Force vs Coerce#
Not much difference - they both mean much the same. Coerce perhaps has a
slight connotation of the pressure being put on someone being a little more
indirect, more subtle - but still effective. Force is quite blunt and
straightforward - they both result in someone being made to do something
against their will.
Grasp vs Grab#
Grab would be used to mean seizing something forcefully. It's
synonymous with 'snatch'.
Grasp means to hold onto something tightly.
Both has somewhat less literal meanings:
Grab is also used to mean causing excitement or interest:
The book was O. K., but it just didn't grab me
Grasp is frequently used to mean understand, or comprehend:
I don't grasp what you just said.
Grasp vs Grip#
They both mean "hold firmly", but grasp can also be used for abstract
objects like 'ideas' or 'thoughts'.
I've grasped the idea of grammar.
I've gripped the idea of grammar. (except for poetic purposes)
Also, I believe the slight difference between grasp and grip is that grasp
has a more recent, light, uncertain or unconcerned feeling, but the action
is finished. Grip has a very strong affirmation in the action, and it's
Grasp - a firm hold that just happened, and unsure whether how long the hold
will last, or will need to last, but it's done.
Grip - a firm hold that's doing all it can to never let go.
Induce vs Persuade#
It's a very small difference.
Persuade is most commonly used when convincing someone to do something they
may not want to. for example:
My daughter did not want to eat here vegetables but I persuaded but her to
If you used induced in the above sentence it would not sound natural.
To induce is to lead by persuasion or influence; incite; while persuade is to
successfully convince (someone) to agree to, accept, or do something,
usually through reasoning and verbal influence compare sway.
Inquire vs Ask#
Ask is a direct word meaning that questions are involved.
Inquire are more investigative, implying questions and
investigation. You ask a person a question, but if you were to ask a formal
question to a company, business or corporation, then you are inquiring.
You can ask that someone perform an action.
When you inquire you only request information.
You can ask for permission, a favour, or forgiveness, but not inquire for them.
They're not interchangeable, ask is broader.
You can "ask someone something" but you cannot "inquire someone something"
Inquire is much more formal, I think you'd inquire about job opportunities
or well, you just wouldn't "inquire" when asking questions to people
Mud vs Dirt#
Mud is what you get when you mix dirt with water. Dirt is dry, mud is wet.
The car got stuck in the mud and we couldn't go to the store.
The man planted the flowers in a pot filled with dirt.
Offend vs Insult#
I would say that insulting someone is often intentional, whereas offending
someone is often unintentional. You can have an offensive smell, for
instance, but not an insulting one.
Because of this, offending someone is more likely to have a basis in truth,
whereas an insult is generally aimed at hurting the other person, so doesn't
necessarily have a basis in truth.
Only vs Solely vs Just#
Only and solely mean the same thing in everyday language, that is
"exclusively" one thing and not anything else. For example, "I only eat
chocolate" or "I solely eat chocolate" means I don't eat anything else.
Merely is similar to "just". It emphasises that a quantity or duration of
time is smaller than expected, or impressively small. "It merely took five
minutes to complete the task" means "it just took five minutes to complete
the task" or "it only took five minutes to complete the task", that is to
say there is surprise that it did not take longer. "I merely ate five bars
of chocolate" means "I only ate five bars of chocolate" in the sense that "I
could have eaten more but I didn't and perhaps I should be congratulated for
Patient vs Tolerant#
There are differences between patient and tolerant
Patient - STAYING CALM when there's a delay or an annoying problem
Tolerant - ACCEPTING things that are different / WITHSTANDING or SURVIVING when there's trouble
Be patient with her - she's very young.
She is young, so she might be annoying and demanding, but STAY CALM and don't get angry with her.
Men are less tolerant of stress than women.
Men can't WITHSTAND stress as well as women.
The government is less tolerant of dissent.
The government does not want to ACCEPT dissent.
Persuade vs Assure#
I can assure you of something/tell you something is true. Whether you
believe me is up to you. If I persuade you to do something it is likely
something you would rather not do, or are not sure if you should do. You do
it because you trust me. If I convince you. I present facts in a
reasonable way, answer your questions and get you to agree with me because
you understand the logic of my point.
Point at vs Point to vs Point out#
Someone points to or at a person, object or direction.
The hikers saw their guide point to the west before disappearing from view.
Sainoor’s dad pointed at her shirt on the floor and then pointed at (or to) the closet.
Someone or circumstances may point to or indicate important facts.
The Prime Minister pointed to the election results to show that she had widespread support.
Gerald’s stuffy nose, sore throat and lack of energy all pointed to one inescapable fact: he had a cold.
A person points out or draws attention to something. Other synonyms for point out include refer to, mention or bring to (someone’s) attention.
The officer pointed out that I was speeding.
The owner’s manual pointed out (referred to) the car’s new safety features.
Managers will point out (mention) the new regulations to their staff at the next meeting.
Possibility vs Opportunity#
We use opportunity to talk about a situation in which we can do something
that we want to do. Opportunity is most commonly followed by a verb in the
to-infinitive form, or of + -ing form:
I had the opportunity to go to university when I was younger but I
didn’t. Now I wish I had gone.
I had the possibility
A: I’ve been waiting for an opportunity to talk to you privately. Are you
B: Yes. What is it about?
waiting for a possibility to
This walk provides the opportunity of seeing some beautiful countryside.
We use possibility to talk about something that may happen or be true.
Possibility is normally followed by of + noun phrase or of + -ing form, or
by a that-clause:
I had never even thought of the possibility of working in the USA until
I was offered a job there in 1998.
the possibility to work in the USA
The possibility that there is life on other planets in the universe has
always inspired scientists.
Warning: We don’t say ‘have the possibility’:
I would love to have an opportunity to meet the Prime Minister.
I would love to have the possibility to meet
Postpone vs Put off vs Hold off#
Postpone and put off are interchangeably.
Hold off used in this context sounds like it is part of your original
planning. We will wait until we hear the report before we meet to
We held off the attacking lions but they eventually broke through the
fence. We held off having the meeting as long as we could but John was
leaving town and we had to meet before he left.
Shame vs Mortify vs Embarrass vs Abash#
These words express an uncomfortable feeling due to loss of self-esteem.
Shame is the strongest, implying a sense of guilt or of disgrace, usually
due to acting in a dishonorable way.
Ex: The terrorist attack was a matter of shame for the security personnel.
Mortify is somewhat milder suggesting humiliation from an unpleasant
Ex: The coach was mortified due to his team’s poor performance.
Embarrass means to make uncomfortably self-conscious.
Ex: His rude behavior embarrassed his colleague.
Abash is to shake up or confuse due to a sudden sense of inferiority similar
to what the boy experienced in the video.
Ex: New to the film industry, he felt abashed when the reporters chased him as he walked out of the hall.
Shortage vs Lack vs Deficiency#
Shortage is a situation where something is not enough for everyone.
Lack is the state of not having or having not enough something
Deficiency is the state of not having or having not enough something
that is essential.
A shortage of water/food/housing.
A lack of food/skill/respect.
A deficiency of/in vitamin.
Slight vs Subtle vs Delicate +#
"Subtle" is mostly used to discuss non-physical things like concepts.
There is a subtle difference between concept A and concept B.
"Delicate" is more for physical things.
*A delicate flower" and is seldom used to describe non-physical things. *
"Slight" is similar to "subtle", but "subtle" often refers to an even
smaller, less noticeable difference between things.
"Subtle" - so delicate it is hard to describe.
"Slight" is small in degree like tiny.
As adjectives the difference between subtle and slight is that subtle is
hard to grasp; not obvious or easily understood; barely noticeable while
slight is small, weak or gentle; not decidedly marked; not forcible;
inconsiderable; unimportant; insignificant; not severe.
Stain vs Spot#
Spots are created by something being dropped or spilt on the
carpet. The substance does not have the ability to permanently bond to the
fiber or cause damage to the fiber. Proper cleaning steps can completely
remove the substance from the carpet.
Stains are created by something being dropped or spilt on a carpet, but the
substance has the ability to permanently damage the carpet fiber. The
substance permanently adds color to the carpet or the substance removes
color from the carpet.
Examples of spots are organic substances like dust, dirt, mud and most foods
that do not contain artificial food dyes. Dirt can be tracked in on shoes
like mud or dust that is airborne soils that float in an open door or
window. These are all things that do not permanently damage or alter the
fiber. When left unattended a spot may look like is a permanent stain, but
with proper cleaning the substance can be completely removed.
If you use the wrong cleaning chemicals to remove a spot the cleaner its
self may create a stain. For example sometime bleach, glass cleaner, metal
cleaner, toilet bowl cleaners, tile and grout cleaners or other hard surface
cleaners are used to clean carpet. All of these chemicals can remove the
color from a carpet fiber.
Examples of stains that add color to the carpet are things like foods with
artificial or natural food dyes like soda, coffee, tea, wines, fruit punch,
some juices, mustards, some chocolates, etc.
Stir vs Mix vs Whisk#
At least in terms of cooking, what varies is the speeds and types of
Mixing is used when referring to dry ingredient, like mixing spices or
mixing a combination of dry and liquid ingredients.You usually only mix
until the ingredients are all evenly spread.
Stirring is used when you are mixing two liquid ingredients or a liquid and
a dry ingredient.Stirring usually occurs for a longer period of time than
mixing as the goal of stirring is to keep the mixture in motion until a
cooking goal is accomplished (the ingredients are cooked thoroughly without
sticking or a specific texture is achieved).
Whisking (or whipping) is a very fast stirring, usually with a tool that has
several thin tines.The goal of whisking is to aerate the mixture thereby
increasing it's volume.It's how merengue or whipped cream is made.
To stir means to move something (a spoon or electric mixture) in a repeated
motion to combine a number of things together.
Mix means simply to combine different elements together. It might or might
not involve using a motion of a tool to do it. I could mix languages
together. It could be real physical mixing or intellectual mixing.
To whisk means to stir with a fast motion using a wire mesh. Some cake
mixes or other recipes require this. [Note: whisk also means to wipe
something away with a quick motion of the arm.]
To review: If I whisk to combine things, I am stirring and mixing. If I
stir, I am mixing, but not necessarily whisking. If I mix, I may be
stirring and/or whisking, but not necessarily.
Sustain vs Maintain vs Retain#
Think of this in terms of levels:
Maintain is to keep it at a certain level. For example, "To maintain my
grades, I study every night."
Sustain is to strengthen or support, so a little more powerful than
maintain. For example, "Planting trees, using less water, and turning off
electronics when you don't use them, are ways to sustain the environment."
And retain is to keep, so unlike maintain, it's used as a sense of a
fleeting thing. Like memory: "There's nothing he can do to retain his
So as levels of strength, you could picture sustaining at the top,
maintaining at the middle and retaining at the bottom. Also, sustaining as
positive, maintaining as neutral, and retaining as negative might also help.
Hope this is helpful!
Sustain (or the related sustainment or sustenance) is to keep things
going. We sustain ourselves with food, that is without food we would
not continue to live. It carries the sense that something is used up
and needs replenishment.
Maintain (or maintenance) is quite similar, but rather than keeping
things going, it’s fixing or preventing from breaking. We may maintain
our health by working out regularly or ensuring we get eight hours of
sleep every knight. We may take our vehicles in for an oil change
every few months. Maintenance carries the idea of upkeep.
In the military, the concept of sustainment incorporates both -
sustaining the fight. For Soldiers, that means ensuring they have
food, water, ammunition, but also health care, legal services, things
like that. For equipment, that we have fuel clearly, but also
mechanics, repair parts, and facilities for fixing things.
Tension vs Stress#
Stress refers to an effort or demand on a person’s physical or mental
energy. Stress produces the same feelings as anxiety, but is usually linked
to a specific person, situation or experience that one fears.
Tension, on the other hand, refers to mental strain or excitement, a
strained state or relationship. If the symptoms are experienced acutely,
it’s referred to as a panic attack.
Stress is the body's reaction to any external stimuli which would require a
change from one’s routine and would necessitate adjustment to the change.
Meaning, for instance, if there is a counselor in a rehab home who has given
counseling sessions to 2 clients with, say schizophrenia, then suddenly she
is asked to have sessions with 6 more, it would lead to staff burnout, or,
in other words stressed out. Mainly stress happens in jobs which are too
demanding or have incur responsibility. An overabundance of stress can be
harmful to one’s health and mental well-being.
Tension is essentially a medical condition which includes psychological.
e.g. neck, jaw, head, muscle pain etc. can cause tension headaches.
Migraine cause tension. Virtually all tensions are internal. And most
stress is from external factors.
If someone is thinking of his bank being robbed, he will be in tension.
Mind you he will not be in stress or stressed out.
The psychological part is e.g., when some thought appears in a person and
he/she fears the outcome. Like ‘I am in great tension when I go out’ or ‘I
am really tense when I think of the exams.’
Stress (our response mechanism to stressor) is our difficulties (physical,
mental and psychological) while facing our stressors like job, travel,
interview, giving birth to baby, marriage, death of loved ones, separation
from loved ones, job loss, loss of income etc.,
Whereas tension is one kind of effect of response to stressor. Tension is
happening within our body inducing us to respond to a situation. Again this
tension happens as per our internal settings which is nothing but our belief
system, our past conditioning etc.
while stress can be and should be regulated or controlled through stress
coping mechanism whereas tension need not be controlled at all because
tension is only signal indicating that we need to attend to certain
important activities. It is like our own alarm setting. Either we have to
reset the alarm or we need to get into the activity for which the alarm is
set. We should reset our belief system, expectations to reset the tension
or we should work toward the goal and expectation and obstacles and
challenges to them are creating tension.
Tie vs Bind#
Tied is a general word and bound is specifically tied very
tightly so that you can't move, and bound is more formal. Still, I
think in many cases, the two words are interchangeable.
My hands are tied is also an idiom meaning I can't help the situation
because someone or something prevents me. Since it's an idiom, you
can't substitute bound.
Tie is just the normal word for keeping something together with an
object. Bind is a word that implies that you do not want that object
to move/get away/otherwise.
He tied her hands together.
(He put her hands together but he hasn't expressed whether or not it's important they stay together...the focus is on the action of tying)
He bound her hands together.
(He tied them in such a way she most likely will not be able to escape- the focus is on the action of making sure she can't get away).
I tied a knot in the ribbon on the present.
(The focus is on the tying of the knot for the presentation of the present)
I bound the ribbon to the present.
(The focus is now on the fact that the ribbon cannot be easily removed from the present).
Anyway I think this is a general rule. Tying usually implies things
like string, laces, twine, anything you can manipulate into a knot.
But bind can include anything that can be stuck together OR
tied. Metal, glue, plastic, etc..
And, finally, "bind" can just be considered a more formal
word. Although you cannot say "I bound my shoes" for "I tied my shoes"
(unless you made it so your shoes are totally stuck together!)
Till vs Untill#
Is there a difference in meaning? No, till and until mean the same thing.
They indicate how long something will happen or when it will start or end.
I’ll be busy until 5:30 today.
I’ll be busy till 5:30 today.
Is one more correct than the other? No, until and till are both real and
correct words. In fact, till is the older of the two words, by several
Is one more formal than the other? Actually, yes. Until is usually
perceived as slightly more formal than till—possibly because of the mistaken
belief that till is just a shortened form of until. But the difference
isn’t huge. You can still use till in formal writing without being wrong.
To vs In order to#
In order to, as I see it, means "as a means to do/achieve...", and it can
derive some other forms like "in order that", which has to be followed by a
Mostly you can use to instead of in order to in a sentence without making
any grammatical mistakes. But to doesn't necessarily convey the meaning of
"with an intention" as much as in order to does.
Tombstone vs Gravestone vs Headstone#
Gravestone (a.k.a. headstone) is used for mentioning that the place is used for the burial
But, a tombstone can be used as a sign post which displays the
name of the place or any other subject.
Ultimately vs Eventually#
Eventually (Some Time Later)
We’ll begin with “eventually,” which generally means “some time later” or
“finally,” especially after a prolonged delay:
The queue was long, but we reached the front eventually.
It can also be used more generally to indicate an unspecified amount of
time, even where no specific delay occurs:
I’m new to ballet, but I’m hoping to eventually turn professional!
In both cases, “eventually” emphasizes the passage of time, either in
relation to something that has happened or that is expected to happen.
Ultimately (In the End)
“Ultimately” can mean “finally” or “in the end,” too, but specifically
refers to the finishing point in a process or series of events:
Although it seemed benign to begin with, the virus ultimately spread to
A second meaning of “ultimately” is to indicate something as a fundamental
or basic fact:
Ultimately, tiddlywinks is a game of thrills and spills.
Even in this second use of “ultimately,” there is a strong sense of
finality, as it suggests something is beyond dispute or conclusive.
When used to mean “finally,” there are situations in which “eventually” and
“ultimately” can be used interchangeably. However, even then, each word
emphasizes something different.
If we say something happened “eventually,” it’s usually the passage of time
we are stressing. Hence “eventually” is normally used when describing
something that happens after a delay.
If we say something happened “ultimately,” on the other hand, the emphasis
is on finality, so this term is best saved for referring to something that
happens at the end of a process.
When “ultimately” is used to mean “fundamentally,” moreover, it’s even more
important to use the correct term, since “eventually” wouldn’t make sense in
Under vs Underneath vs Beneath vs Below#
Under is used when something is directly under another.
Underneath is often used to say that something is covered by another thing.
Beneath has the same meanings as under or underneath, but it’s a formal, literary word.
Below is preferred when something is in a lower position, but in the same buliding, hill, part of the body etc. as another thing.
in, to or through a lower place/ position
My dog used to sleep under our bed, but he’s grown too big now to do that.
You can’t buy alcohol if you’re under 18.
under something, used when being covered or hidden by another thing
This jacket’s too small for me to wear a jumper underneath
He always seems so cold, but I know he’s soft-hearted underneath.
in or to a lower position, under
When I arrived, my daughter was sleeping like a log beneath her blanket.
My cat always hides beneath the sofa when I have visitors.
in or to a lower position (often used when in the same buliding, hill, part of the body etc.)
Please fill out this form, but do not write anything below the red line.
Who lives in the flat below yours?
Vital vs Essential vs Crucial#
Crucial derives from the Latin crux, meaning cross. The word
originally meant cross shaped, but took on the meaning of deciding between
opposing arguments in the 19th century. From there it was a short stretch
to its current meaning of decisive.
Vital derives from the Latin words vitalis and vita meaning life. Its
meaning has changed through the centuries. In the 14th century it meant
pertaining to life; in the 15th it meant essential to life or sustaining
life; in the 16th it meant endowed with life. By the 17th it had come to
mean life giving or essential to the existence of something, which is its
Essential is presumed to be derived from the Latin esse – to be –
via essence, which denotes that qualities that make a thing what it is.
It’s common to hear people talking about issues that are highly crucial,
most essential and very vital, however these uses are wrong. Something is
either crucial or essential or it isn’t – and nothing can be more vital than
another thing which is vital.