Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Use and Utilize

english wordsUse vs Utilize

Having a firm grasp on the difference between use and utilize can help you from making one of those infamous English faux pas. In all recent accounts, the word ‘use’, has been part of the English language for much longer than the term ‘utilize’. It wasn’t until the last hundred years that people have mixed up the two words, usually as an effort to sound smarter, by throwing in the word ‘utilize’ where it doesn’t belong. Usually, the effort is misguided, and the English sentence is mercilessly butchered instead of expressing feigned intelligence.

Basically, you can use the word ‘use’ interchangeably, but you cannot do the same with the word ‘utilize’. You can use a fork to eat with, or you can use a fork to prop open a window, without stepping into any grammar holes. However, you can not utilize a fork for eating, while you can utilize a fork to prop open a window. Why?

‘Use’ refers to the proper and intended job with which the individual or item is acceptably associated. ‘Utilize’ is more creative, meaning that you have found a not-so-traditional manner in which to create a new function for the individual or item.

It should be noted, that when it comes to people, there is a significant difference between ‘using’ someone, and ‘utilizing’ them. That boils down to intention. When we use someone, we do so with the intention of gaining solely for ourselves, and almost always, the act requires at least a small amount of deceit. Utilizing someone has a more pure intention, meaning that there is no deceit, and we assign them to the position in our lives or company for a greater good. You can utilize someone’s talents to help you through a rough emotional patch, or to increase your business profits. The intention of utilization is more reciprocal.

Summary:

1. The word ‘use’ is older than the word ‘utilize’.

2. ‘Utilize’ is much more likely to be improperly inserted into a sentence.

3. You can misuse the word ‘use’, and it will still make a proper sentence.

4. You ‘use’ items as they were intended to be used.

5. You ‘utilize’ items when you create a new or nontraditional job for the item.

6. The ‘use’ of people can be ill intended.

7. ‘Utilizing’ people is not of ill intent, nor is it a one sided exchange.


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1 Comment

  1. I’d be happier if there were more etymology shown, instead of solely assertions. This interests me. Thanks

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