Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference between Keep and Put

The word keep is defined as “to have or retain possession,” of an object, or “place an object” somewhere, or persist in doing something.  The past tense and past participle of the word keep is “kept”.

The word keep when used as a verb, requires an object which can be seen in the following sentences in the present tense.

  • You may keep the change. 
  • He keeps his shoes outside the front door. 
  • We keep food in the refrigerator. 
  • John keeps his books on the desk. 
  • Teachers keep a record of what is taught in the class.

 “Keep” can also be used to convey that something must remain in a certain state or in control such as:

  • Keep your hands out of the cookie box! 
  • You are doing excellent work.  Keep it up! 
  • Keep going straight.  We are almost there. 
  • Keep your eyes on the road or else we will have an accident. 
  • Keep your mouth shut.  You talk too much. 
  • Learn to keep your temper in control.

“Keep” may also be used to give a specified instruction followed by away, back, off, out etc. :

  • Keep out of my room. 
  • Keep back – there is a car coming. 
  • Keep away from Maria.  She is in a bad mood. 
  • Try to keep off the topic of marriage when you meet Tom.  He is not ready yet. 
  •  We keep away from our neighbours since they are not friendly.

“Keep” also conveys to persist in doing something.

  • He keeps smoking when he knows it injures one’s health. 
  • My dog keeps following me wherever I go.   
  • Maria keeps writing to John although he never replies. 
  • I will keep trying to learn driving until I get a licence. 
  • My mother keeps nagging me to get married.  

 “Put” differs completely from “keep” and means to move something or someone in a particular place or position.  The past tense of “put” remains “put”.

  • Put the books on that table. 
  • I have put your clothes in the laundry basket. 
  • Jill put away the dishes which had just been washed. 
  • Can we put the chairs closer together to fit in one more chair? 
  • Simon put his files in his desk drawer. 
  • He put his shoes outside the front door since they were encrusted with mud. 
  • Please put Michael in the junior football team. 
  • We put our daughter in a boarding school for a better education. 
  • The mother put the baby in his crib.
  • The teacher punished John by putting him in a corner of the classroom. 

Another usage of the word “put” is to express something in words.

  • Celia wanted to tell James that she did not want to see him anymore but she didn’t know how to put it. 
  • To put it bluntly, you did not study enough for the exam. 
  • The politician found it difficult to put across his views to his party members. 
  • Peter did not know how to put it to his wife that he had quit his job. 

“Put” may also be used to cause someone or something to be in a particular condition or situation.

  • Do you realise you are putting your children at risk by exposing them to the bitter cold? 
  • He put me in a very awkward situation by hiding my note book. 
  • Put the past behind you and look forward to the future. 
  • To put it mildly, the teacher was annoyed with George. 
  • He is putting a lot of pressure on me to change my mind. 

The usage of both verbs, keep and put, can convey different meanings.  However, their usage is totally different from each other.


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1 Comment

  1. Very nice description. I don’t guess how to put it in words. Keep it up. Thanks!

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