Crime and Punishment

Status
Not open for further replies.

Tanja

Junior Member
Joined
Aug 17, 2004
Member Type
English Teacher
I've already posted this topic but it disappeared somehow. :roll: :? :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.
 

Casiopea

VIP Member
Joined
Sep 21, 2003
Member Type
Other
Tanja said:
I've already posted this topic but it disappeared somehow. :roll: :? :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.
 

Tanja

Junior Member
Joined
Aug 17, 2004
Member Type
English Teacher
Casiopea said:
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?
 

Casiopea

VIP Member
Joined
Sep 21, 2003
Member Type
Other
Tanja said:
Casiopea said:
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.
 

Tanja

Junior Member
Joined
Aug 17, 2004
Member Type
English Teacher
Casiopea said:
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 :*
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top