Learn English Vocabulary – LEARN vs. STUDY


I guess since you are reading this you are studying English. I know that learning a language is not easy. Some people study for years and still have a hard time. Just about every day I fill up the pixels on your computer with material that hopefully can help you learn something in English. I hope you enjoy studying with me.

Learn and study. What’s the difference between these to words? That’s a great question that a lot of English learners have. So today,  let’s take a look at the difference between learn and study.

Study is a process. When you study, you use tools such as books and computers in order to help you get information into your head. You study because you want to learn something.

  • I have been studying Japanese for more than 10 years.
  • Teddy is studying to become a doctor.
  • Gina is studying her notes for the history exam this week.

Learn is what happens as a result of studying or experience. When you learn something, you have it in your head forever.

  • I learned how to cook Italian food from my mom.
  • It’s hard to learn all of the things you need to know to become a doctor.
  • A musician needs to learn all of the words of a song before the performance.

Learning is the result of studying or experiencing something. And, since learning refers to complete understanding, we don’t usually use learn when we talk about wide fields of knowledge:

  • Frank studied philosophy in college. Not, Frank learned philosophy in college. We wouldn’t expect that Frank would have learned EVERYTHING about philosophy, so we say he studied it, not that he learned it.

We can, however, say that we learn about something. This means we got some information about a topic or situation.

  • I learned about Ben Franklyn in elementary school.
  • George is learning about life in the desert in Africa.

We also use learn when we talk about playing a musical instrument.

  • I want to learn how to play the guitar.
  • Joe is learning the saxophone now.

Keep in mind the best way to remember this or any vocabulary in English is to take the word or phrase write it in a sentence that’s true for you or true in your world and then memorize your sentences.

You can even take your sentences and write them in the comments below. I would love to see your examples. And if you really want help with vocabulary, sign up for my free vocabulary workshop (see below).

If you know anyone who might be interested in this English language point, why not help them out! Just share this lesson with them. Thanks for studying today!


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