pile, stack, heap

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jctgf

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hi,
when meaning a group of things, each one over the last, are these words synonyms?
is there a particular context for each one?
thanks.
 

stuartnz

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I'm not a teacher, but I'd say that "pile" and "heap" are nearer to being interchangeable than are "pile" and "stack" or "heap" and "stack". The key is the suggestion order, or disorder, that the words convey. I have a pile of medical journal articles lying in a heap on my floor, but I have a stack of folders on a shelf in my office. If I see or hear "stack" I think of an ordered arrangement, with heap and pile, I think more of a random accumulation of materials.
 

jctgf

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oh boy, it's far more complicated than I had imagined...
thanks.
 

riverkid

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oh boy, it's far more complicated than I had imagined...
thanks.

Then let me try and see if I can make it any easier, JC.

stack - tends to suggest a more orderly, neat arrangement of things

pile / heap - tends to suggest a more disordely arrangements of things

Try looking in Google Images for different things; "stack/heap/pile of {___}" and see if this pans out.
 
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