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    #1

    stand out and stick out

    What's the difference between a person who stands out and a person who sticks out?

    I think that if I stand out it means that I may be good at something and for this reason I every time distinguish myself...If I stick out it should mean that I may do something wrong and people can notice what I'm doing because I'm doing it in public...What's your opinion on that?

    Can these two verbs be used for objects too? For example, for a building?
    What's the difference between a building that stands out and one that sticks out?

    By the way, is it set apart a synonym of to stand out or to stick out? When should it be used?
    Last edited by dilodi83; 21-Oct-2011 at 15:30. Reason: Something was missing

  1. BobK's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: stand out and stick out

    'Standing out' is generally a good thing; people who do it are 'outstanding'. I've noticed sports commentators beginning to use 'stand-out' in the meaning 'outstanding' - I don't know whether dictionaries have caught up with this yet. 'In the 1981 Test Series, Ian Botham was the stand-out player'.(Maybe this was made popular by guest celebrities from Australia - another such coining I've noticed [similarly making a hyphenated adjective out of a phrasal verb] is 'go-to' - 'a go-to bowler' is the one that the captain automatically chooses. But I digress*...).

    'Sticking out' is generally a bad thing. There is the idiom 'sticking out like a sore thumb'.

    b
    PS 'But I digress' is an often-used admission that one is digressing. Strangely, the idiom is not 'But I am digressing'. That - the present progressive - is what I meant. It may also be true that digressing is something I tend to do

  2. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: stand out and stick out

    Quote Originally Posted by dilodi83 View Post
    What's the difference between a person who stands out and a person who sticks out?

    I think that if I stand out it means that I may be good at something and for this reason I every time distinguish myself...If I stick out it should mean that I may do something wrong and people can notice what I'm doing because I'm doing it in public...What's your opinion on that?

    Can these two verbs be used for objects too? For example, for a building?
    What's the difference between a building that stands out and one that sticks out?

    By the way, is it set apart a synonym of to stand out or to stick out? When should it be used?
    "Stick out" is a more physical description of something which protrudes.
    "Stand out" is more metaphorical and describes a person who is different from a group in some way, usually a positive way.

    "Set apart" is closer to "stand out" than "stick out".

  3. BobK's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: stand out and stick out

    PPS Also, 'Set apart' is transitive. People who are set apart tend to regard themselves as outstanding, but there's no necessary connection between the two.

    b

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