Published: 11th February 2019
Confusing word pairs: Certain English words may have similar meaning but not the exact same meaning
What is the difference in meaning between these two words? ‘Weather’ is what happens for a short term and ‘climate’ is over the longer term
There are quite a few words in the English language which may have similar meanings, but not exactly the same meaning. Many learners of the English language find it very difficult to understand the exact meanings of such words, and often get confused and even fail to use them appropriately in different contexts. For example, the words ‘weather’ and ‘climate’ don’t exactly have the same meanings.
Recently, the President of the United States Donald Trump was trolled on social media for not knowing the difference between ‘weather’ and ‘climate’. He had tweeted: “Brutal and Extended Cold Blast could shatter ALL RECORDS Whatever happened to Global Warming?” Responding to the tweet, a young Indian student commented: “I am 54 years younger than you. I just finished high school with average marks. But even I can tell you that WEATHER IS NOT CLIMATE. If you want help understanding that, I can lend you my encyclopedia from when I was in 2nd grade. It has pictures and everything.”
What is the difference in meaning between these two words? ‘Weather’ is what happens for a short term and ‘climate’ is over the longer term. Weather in a place can change from minute-to-minute, hour-to-hour or day-to-day whereas climate is the weather of a place averaged over an extended period of time.
That is the reason why we have weather reports and not climate reports. This simple explanation might help us understand the difference between these two terms — Climate is what we expect and weather is what we get. For example, we visited a place during a particular month expecting snow, but it didn’t snow at all.
Look at these examples:
Let’s check the weather forecast and plan the day accordingly.
Our city’s weather is known for being quite unpredictable and I can’t say how it will be tomorrow.
Here are London’s climate facts: the hottest month is July, coldest month is January and the wettest month is October.
New Zealand has a largely temperate climate.
I found this interesting analogy on the internet. ‘Weather is how much money you have in your pocket today, whereas climate is your net worth. A billionaire who has forgotten his wallet one day is not poor, any more than a poor person who lands a windfall of several hundred dollars is suddenly rich.’
Let’s look at another confusing pair of words: ‘allot’ and ‘allocate’. To ‘allot’ means to divide or distribute by share. To ‘allocate’ means to set aside for a particular purpose.
The noun forms of ‘allot’ and ‘allocate’ are ‘allotment’ and ‘allocation’ respectively. The examples below can help us understand the difference in meaning between the two terms:
The government has decided to increase the number of seats in colleges and to allot all the new seats to economically weaker sections.
The allotment of seats will be done in the next academic year.
We need to send appointments to the candidates. Could you please allot time for the interviews?
Has there been higher allocation for higher education in the interim budget?
The government should allocate more money for healthcare.
What is the difference between ‘popular’ and ‘populist’? The word ‘popular’ means liked or admired by many people. The word ‘populist’ has a different meaning. It can be used as a noun and an adjective.
As a noun the word refers to a person, mainly a politician, who strives to appeal to ordinary people. As an adjective it refers to the characteristics of a politician who tries to win the hearts of common people with certain measures. The term collocates with these words: budget, rhetoric, promises, style, politician.
Look at these examples:
A popular leader need not be a populist.
A populist budget focuses on pleasing common people but does not have positive impact on the economy.
Many politicians use populist rhetoric to woo the electorate.
He is known for making populist promises.
Populist promises to reverse every tough decision are nothing but empty rhetoric, irresponsible leadership, and bad politics.
— Enda Kenny