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  1. #1
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    Default Crime and Punishment

    I've already posted this topic but it disappeared somehow. :? :D

    I'd like to know whether there is any difference in meaning between the words jail and prison.

    Would it be equally correct to say:
    Her father was sent to prison.
    Her father was sent to jail.

    Thanx.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Crime and Punishment

    Quote Originally Posted by Tanja
    I've already posted this topic but it disappeared somehow. :? :D

    I'd like to know whether there is any difference in meaning between the words jail and prison.

    Would it be equally correct to say:
    Her father was sent to prison.
    Her father was sent to jail.

    Thanx.
    They are often used synonymously: both mean a confined space. Having said that, though, 'jail', in its true sense, is a cage, a room within a building, whereas 'prison' is a building, an institution.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Crime and Punishment

    Quote Originally Posted by Casiopea
    They are often used synonymously: both mean a confined space. Having said that, though, 'jail', in its true sense, is a cage, a room within a building, whereas 'prison' is a building, an institution.
    Ok.

    Then....mmm...it always seemed to me that jail has more negative meaning...sort of disapprobative, no?

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Crime and Punishment

    Quote Originally Posted by Tanja
    Quote Originally Posted by Casiopea
    They are often used synonymously: both mean a confined space. Having said that, though, 'jail', in its true sense, is a cage, a room within a building, whereas 'prison' is a building, an institution.
    Ok.

    Then....mmm...it always seemed to me that jail has more negative meaning...sort of disapprobative, no?
    Hmm. Well, it depends on who you ask, really. Both jail and prison have negative connotations/denotations--rightly so, I might add. They're scary places. Jail can be temporary (i.e., temporary detention), but prison is not.

    It's possible the difference in meaning you're touching on has to do with "institution". That is, marriage, university, and other institutions are respectable, thereby with semantic transfer, maybe 'prison' is more respectable than 'jail'. That is, the term 'jail' doesn't have the same approval rating as 'prison' because it isn't an institution.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Crime and Punishment

    Quote Originally Posted by Casiopea
    Jail can be temporary (i.e., temporary detention), but prison is not.
    Exactly. Perhaps, that is an explaination I suspected and doubted about.

    Many thanks :*

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Crime and Punishment

    Quote Originally Posted by Tanja
    Quote Originally Posted by Casiopea
    Jail can be temporary (i.e., temporary detention), but prison is not.
    Exactly. Perhaps, that is the explanation I suspected, but doubted.

    Many thanks :*
    You are welcome. :D

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