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    #1

    abuse vs misuse

    Hello!

    After consulting my dictinary I've got a feeling that the meanings of these verbs seem to overlap.
    I'd be grateful if anyone could tell me if I can use either verb in the sentences below:

    (1) She abused her position as principal by giving jobs to her friends. or
    She misused her position as principal by giving jobs to her friends.

    (2) Some people deliberately misuse the internet system.
    Some people deliberately abuse the internet system.

    Thank you in advance.

    PS I don't think it's correct to say 'she misused her position...', but I don't know why it is so.
    Last edited by Verona_82; 30-Jan-2011 at 20:09. Reason: PS added

  1. 5jj's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: abuse vs misuse

    What follows is my opinion only.

    For me, both words have the idea of 'using in the incorrect way', but 'abuse' has the additional idea that the incorrect way is bad, wrong or harmful.

    If I use a screwdriver as a chisel, I am misusing the screwdriver, but not really abusing it.


    Quote Originally Posted by Verona_82 View Post
    (1) She abused her position as principal by giving jobs to her friends. or
    She misused her position as principal by giving jobs to her friends.

    This falls in the area of morals and legality, where some might feel that any misuse of a position of authority or power, even if it does good (not the case in your example), is inherently wrong, and is therefore an abuse.
    I, personally, feel that 'abuse' is the better word here.


    (2) Some people deliberately misuse the internet system.
    Some people deliberately abuse the internet system.
    I don't think that there is a 'correct' way to use the internet. Therefore, if someone is using it for reasons that the speaker thinks are criminal or immoral, then 'abuse' is the word.
    Having said all that, I feel there are many cases where there is overlap; there are also probably some people who feel there is no difference, and others who prefer one to the other in most cases.
    Last edited by 5jj; 31-Jan-2011 at 00:48. Reason: typo

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    #3

    Re: abuse vs misuse

    Thank you! I think I've got a handle on the difference.

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    #4

    Re: abuse vs misuse

    Quote Originally Posted by Verona_82 View Post
    PS I don't think it's correct to say 'she misused her position...', but I don't know why it is so.
    It is correct.

    Not a teacher

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