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Friday, April 17, 2009

English Vocabulary - The Difference Between The Words Learn And Study

Hi, this is English teacher Fred from
Learn English WithFred dot Blogspot dot com.
Here, I wrote it down here so you can see it:
Learn English With Fred dot Blogspot dot com- can you see it?

Today I wanted to talk about something: I want to talk about the words "learn" and "study."

Because yesterday a student asked me about these two words. Because teachers usually will say "learn" and "study," they mean the same thing, right? But they don't mean exactly the same thing; they're nearly the same. Sometimes you can use these two words the same way, but sometimes they are different. So I want to tell you about how they are different.

"Learn" is when you actually know something, but "study" is the work that you do to learn something.

The reason this came up was, I was chatting with a student, a Vietnamese student last night. And I'm chatting in Vietnamese because I'm learning Vietnamese, and the student said, "Oh, I can help you." And I said, "Well, I want to learn, but I don't want to study!" It was sort of a joke, you know: I want to learn but I don't want to study.

It means I want to know, but I don't want to do the work, because I'm lazy, right? Everybody's lazy, you know? Learning a language takes work. We all wish that we could just learn- just like that, right? But, unfortunately, we have to work: we have to study.

So that's why they asked me, "Well, what's the difference?"

Learn means: I want to know. But study means: do the work to learn.

So, for example, sometimes one of the words would be not correct. For example, if you're using the simple past tense, if I'm talking about yesterday. If I ask somebody, "What did you do yesterday?" And they say, "Well, yesterday I learned English." It's not exactly correct.

Because here, in this example, you have to think about the grammar. Because in simple past it means something is finished in the past. So if I say, "Yesterday I learned English," that would mean that yesterday I learned 100% English. Now I know English 100%, so now I can stop studying- because I know.

But we know that's not really true because you can study a second language your entire life and you still don't really know 100%. So more correct would be to say, "Yesterday I studied English."

Because yesterday I studied; it means I'm doing the work but today I will continue because I don't know English 100% yet.

"Yesterday I studied English." Correct.
"Yesterday I learned English." Maybe not.

Let's see, what could you say, yesterday I learned... "Yesterday I learned a new word." Yes, okay, it would be correct because you did that in the past and you finished that in the past, you learned that in the past and it's finished. Now you know that word. "I learned that in the past."

I hope that makes it a little bit clearer about "learn" and "study," how they are a little bit different, a little bit the same. Not always the same- sometimes the same. I hope that helps you.

Come by my website: Learn English With Fred dot Blogspot dot com and sign up for a FREE 15-minute conversation lesson on Skype or Yahoo or whatever chat you like.

Okay, hope to see you soon. Thank you. Bye-bye.
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