Difference Between Usage and Use

Aug 15, 2011 by

What are the differences between usage and use in english language?

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    Both “use” and “usage” are often interchanged in many areas, jobs, and actions. Both are also defined and function as “the act of using.” However, there are distinct differences between the two.

    “Usage” is a noun while “use” can be both a noun and a verb. As a verb, “use” can be a transitive or intransitive verb. It is also subject to derivatives or morphology of tenses (according to time frame – which includes past, present, and future and aspects which include the simple, progressive, perfect, and continuous perfect forms). “Usage,” as a noun, has no derivatives or morphological forms.

    “Usage” is also more specialized than “use.” It often refers to the convention, the customary and habitual practice.

    In the area of language and linguistics, “use” and “usage” are often interchanged by the people who utilize the said areas. The similarities between the two aspects cause the root of confusion for English students and become one of the common errors in practice.

    Language use refers to how the language is put into function. The goal is to use the knowledge of various language rules in practice for effective communication. It can also refer to the actual practice or act of using the known rules and convention that already exist in the language system. Language use employs the communicative meaning of language.

    On the other hand, language usage refers to the manner in which a language is spoken or written. It also refers to the rules of making language patterns and styles.

    Both language use and usage are utilized in the different aspects of language. The aspects are enumerated as follows:

    Figures of speech, which are the subtle uses of language in conversation and work.

    Metaphor, the use of other words to describe other words.
    Modifying meaning, the technique of changing the meaning for the purposes of changing minds.

    Parts of speech, which are the building blocks of any language. This category includes nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, and many others.

    Persuasive language, the skill of using methods and words for persuasion.

    Special language, which is often used in group conversation and retention within groups.
    Syntax, the structure and types of sentences.
    Punctuation, the use of marks to convey meaning.

    In a classroom setting, the teacher explains and gives examples of the specific usage of a term and of the term’s usage. In turn, the students try to use the term within the set of rules in everyday activities like writing, speaking, and other forms of communication.

    Summary:
    “Usage” and “use” differ as parts of speech. “Usage” is a noun while “use” functions both as a noun and as a verb. “Use” as a verb can be in the simple past, present, or future. It can also exist in progressive, perfect, or perfect progressive forms. “Use” is also used as a transitive or intransitive verb.
    “Use” as a verb can be subject to different morphological forms or changing of the base or main verb word (which is use) into a specific time frame (past, perfect, and future) and aspects (the simple, progressive, perfect, and perfect continuous forms).
    Though both “usage” and “use” are defined as the “act of using.” “Usage” refers more to how something is used, and “use” pertains to the act or the practice of making that something to function in everyday activities.
    In language and linguistics, “usage” and “use” are often confused with one another and are considered to be a very common English error. “Usage” is often substituted for “use” and vice versa which happens in conversations and written materials.

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