difference collocations and examples

 UK /ˈdɪfrəns/

Explore meanings in the Dictionary

something that makes one person or thing different from another; the amount by which something is different from something else

Adjectives frequently used with difference
big: big, considerable, enormous, huge, major, marked, massive, substantial, vastThere is a huge difference between the abilities of a six-month-old baby and a two-year-old child.small: little, minor, slight, subtleThe two models are basically the same machine, but there are some slight differences.clear and easy to see: appreciable, distinct, notable, noticeable, obvious, strikingIt was interesting to see the obvious differences between the east and west sides of the country.basic: essential, fundamentalInvited to compare the two, most people soon spot the essential difference.important: crucial, important, significantThere are two important differences between buy-to-let mortgages and standard mortgages.main: key, mainRead this paper to understand the key differences between spyware and viruses.types of difference: cultural, genetic, individual, racial, regionalAnother area of misunderstanding is cultural differences in lifestyle.
Nouns frequently used before difference
age, class, gender, price, sex, temperature, timeWe need to address gender differences in attainment at school.There’s a three-hour time difference between London and Moscow.
Verbs frequently used with difference
recognize that there is a difference: detect, identify, know, notice, see, spot, tellI don’t see a big difference between this act and a knife-throwing act.It’s hard to tell the difference between the low-fat and high-fat versions.

Usage note

When something has a big effect, you can say that it makes a difference: Having two assistants instead of one will make a big difference.

emphasize a difference: emphasize, highlight, stressThe novel highlights the differences between romance and courtship today and how it was in the past.discuss a difference: examine, explore, look atThis study aims to explore the differences in achievement between the two groups of students.explain a difference: account for, explainIt is difficult to know how to account for the differences shown in the statistics.

Verbs that frequently follow difference
arise from, emerge, lie inThe main difference lies in the type of merchandise sold.
Other nouns/adjectives/verbs frequently used with difference
similarityThe article talks about the differences and similarities between life in Britain and life in the US.

Usage note

Difference is always plural when used with similiarity: The children were asked to identify the differences and similarities between the two pictures.


disagreements about something [always plural]

Adjectives frequently used with difference
irreconcilableGilbertson resigned due to irreconcilable differences with the committee.
Verbs frequently used with difference
have differences: have yourI know Coxsone and I had our differences, but I’m sad to see him go.

Usage note

When people disagree you can also say that they have a difference of opinion: We had a difference of opinion about the best way to proceed.

end differences: overcome, reconcile, resolve, settle, transcendBoth countries need to start discussions and resolve their differences.

Verbs that frequently follow difference
arise, emerge, persist, remainWe have resolved most issues but some outstanding differences remain.
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