The pages on difference-between.com explain clearly, simply and accurately the differences between some similar things or terms that are easily confused.
Browse the topics or try the special search engine – Just type two or more confusable terms in the search box. For multi-word terms e.g. “table tennis” and “ping pong”, enclose each in quotation marks.


12 thoughts on “About”

  1. Hi Dolcevita.
    There are lots of explanations on the web, which you probably found through the special search box at the top of this page, but they tend to be long and wordy and leave you feeling there isn’t much difference at all! We try to keep things simple, clear and accurate on this site. So here goes:

    The difference between presume and assume is very small and usually it doesn’t matter which word you use. But sometimes only one is correct. Take a look at this example:

    A defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

    It would be wrong to use ‘assumed’ here instead – If the defendant was assumed to be innocent, why would anyone recommend prosecution in the first place?
    Assume and presume both mean ‘believe’ or ‘take for granted’ but presume implies a temporary belief before the belief is tested. That’s why it begins with ‘pre-‘ (which means ‘before’).

    There are other situations where assumed is usually better: situations where you aren’t thinking of testing the assumption.

    We assume that what we see is real.

    We assume that if we see a brick wall, the wall is really there. Most of us will not test this assumption by hurling ourselves against the wall! That’s why most people would use ‘assume’ here rather than ‘presume’.

    ‘Oh! I assumed the lady was your daughter!’ (It wasn’t something I intended to check out.)

    People who make presumptions in social situations without bothering to test or check them are sometimes called presumptuous. For example, if you presume it’s OK to treat your stuffy old boss like an equal without testing their preference first, he/she may consider you presumptuous.

    I hope that helps.

  2. I want to say the letter, s. Do I say “A ‘s'” or “An ‘s'”? For instance using SPCA in sentence: A SPCA office or An SPCA office? Which is correct? Or are they both correct?

  3. “An SBCA office”.
    Whether you say ‘a’ or ‘an’ depends on the sound that follows it, not on the spelling. So although the letter s is not a vowel, it begins with a vowel sound when spoken. Another example is ‘an x-ray’.

    1. Moi. The meaning and use of afraid and scared are both very similar. For example ‘He was afraid of dogs‘ or ‘He was scared of dogs’. But we can’t use ‘afraid’ with ‘by’:
      ‘She was scared by the sudden appearance of a big dog.’
      We can use ‘scared‘ before a noun – ‘a scared animal’, ‘a scared little boy’ but we don’t use ‘afraid‘ before a noun.

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