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Thread: act or action

  1. Newbie
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    #1

    act or action

    Hello, please can you help me understand the difference between the words 'act' and 'action'. When do I use them?

    Two examples I am struggling with:

    1. Using the loo is a compulsory act/action.


    2.Shampoo your hair.
    Scrub your body.
    Use shower gel.
    Brush your teeth.
    If any of these actions/acts are left out, you will not be considered clean.
    Is 'actions' or 'acts' correct here?

    Thank you.

  2. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: act or action

    Either "act" or "action" is fine by me.

  3. Raymott's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: act or action

    They're not always interchangeable though. "Action" is sometimes more abstract.
    "We need to take action"; "This situation requires action." (Not act).
    "That was an act of barbarity". This refers to a concrete act. (Not action).
    "That was a despicable act." You could possibly use "action" here, though 'act' would be more common.

  4. Newbie
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    #4

    Re: act or action

    Certain actions have been made neccessary for our own safety.

    Would I use actions here because it is more abstract or acts because specific acts are being highlighted?

    Thank you.

  5. Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    #5

    Re: act or action

    I would use actions.

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