Use vs usage

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whl626

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I wonder if anyone can give me some examples to point out the difference of these two words. Or give a couple of examples where they are interchangeable. I have them mixed up most of the time.

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whl626

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There are no answers there ??? Ron, you mean have this question discuss there ?
 

Tdol

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Not at all- I regard 'usage' as more to do with analysing the differences in varieties of English and in contexts. Usage is where rules get broken, or where there are differences in opinion, use less so. Everyone would agree that 'did' is the past of 'do', but usage shows that Americans would say it where Brits would go for the present perfect. Both are correct in their context, so usage is different.

Descriptivist views of language tend to look at usage (actual use) more than theoretical use. ;-)

BTW- I do like Michael Swan's 'Practical English Usage' for the way he looks at genuine usage in English and manages to synthesise logical descriptions from it.
 

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whl626 said:
There are no answers there ??? Ron, you mean have this question discuss there ?

I was hoping to get some help there. There wasn't a very quick response, was there? (There should be some before the day is out.)

:(
 

Tdol

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whl626 said:
I wonder if anyone can give me some examples to point out the difference of these two words. Or give a couple of examples where they are interchangeable. I have them mixed up most of the time.

Thanks

The Longman Dictionary of Linguistics gives Henry Widdowson's distinction-
Usage- an element in a linguistic system.
Use- its function as part of a system of communication.

The progressive form would be studied in terms of usage- be + ing, and use, for plans, etc.

So Widdowson actually uses them in the opposite sense from me. In which case, I'd trust old Henry before me. ;-)

However, their first definition of usage is 'the ways people actually speak and write', which is closer to mine. It would appear that the situation is a bit confused. ;-)
 

Tdol

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It's a tricky one because people use them interchangeably or following different patterns. A right mess. ;-|
 

whl626

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tdol said:
It's a tricky one because people use them interchangeably or following different patterns. A right mess. ;-|

I was so used to the ' usage '. But when time and again that people tend to use ' use ' instead of ' usage '. It makes me wonder how to use it correctly :x
 

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whl626 said:
tdol said:
It's a tricky one because people use them interchangeably or following different patterns. A right mess. ;-|

I was so used to the ' usage '. But when time and again that people tend to use ' use ' instead of ' usage '. It makes me wonder how to use it correctly :x

I much prefer usage. I am much more likely to employ use as a verb than as a noun. Indeed, on the forums people usually talk about usage rather than use.

:)
 

whl626

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What a relief to see that you are prone to the ' usage ' instead :)

When people don't use what you are using, it seems that something is wrong somewhere. :p
 

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A simple way of explaining usage is that it is the way people use words. As for use, I am not sure how to explain that. The only thing I know for sure is that they are not the same thing.

:)
 

whl626

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RonBee

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whl626 said:
RonBee said:
I like Trep's explanation best.

Use is the selection of a word or words; usage is the way in which they are used.

http://forums.delphiforums.com/n/mb/message.asp?webtag=dictionary&msg=15151.5

I agree most with this explanation. It sort of clears the mess. So for example : " This gadget has many usages " is better than " uses " ?

Neither grammar nor linguistics are involved* when talking about the uses that a gadget might be put to. When the subject is words I talk about usage. When we are talking about gadgets I talk about their uses.


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*They are, but not in the same way.

--

:wink:
 
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