1. ## Distinguish or Differentiate?

Hi,
Is there any difference between the words and the contexts they're usually used in? Thanks in advance.

2. ## Re: Distinguish or Differentiate?

Neither a teacher nor a native speaker.
Originally Posted by Mehrgan
Hi,
Is there any difference between the words and the contexts they're usually used in? Thanks in advance.
As far as I know, they don't mean the same thing.
To distinguish between two things means to tell the difference between them. It's about perception. You probably distinguish between right and wrong.

To differentiate, on the other hand, means to become different or to split into different. Species can differentiate into sub-species.

There are also some other meanings. Good balance distinguishes an acrobat.
You can also differentiate in mathematics, when you seek a derivative of a given function.

3. ## Re: Distinguish or Differentiate?

Originally Posted by Mehrgan
Hi,
Is there any difference between the words and the contexts they're usually used in? Thanks in advance.
Not a teacher.

Yes, there is. For example, in math, you can differentiate a function, for instant after having differentiated, the function y(x) = x becomes y'(x)=1.

An other example, you say a distinguished guest, not a differentiated guest .

4. ## Re: Distinguish or Differentiate?

And, are there any cases when the two forms could be interchangably used? Ta!

5. ## Re: Distinguish or Differentiate?

Originally Posted by Mehrgan
And, are there any cases when the two forms could be interchangably used? Ta!
Not a teacher,
Yes, for instant, when to verbs mean ' to form or mark differently from other such things'.
One example:
It is hard to distinguish/differentiate her from her twin sister.

6. ## Re: Distinguish or Differentiate?

Originally Posted by hanky
Not a teacher,
Yes, for instant, when to verbs mean ' to form or mark differently from other such things'.
One example:
It is hard to distinguish/differentiate her from her twin sister.
Can you really use the word 'differentiate' in this sentence?

7. ## Re: Distinguish or Differentiate?

Originally Posted by mmasny
Can you really use the word 'differentiate' in this sentence?
No, it's not correct.

8. ## Re: Distinguish or Differentiate?

Originally Posted by bhaisahab
No, it's not correct.
If it's not correct, could you please tell us the differences between the two above sentences?

And how about: We distinguish/differentiate several kinds of maple?

Here the two verbs mean "to mark as different".

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