Breach vs Violation

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What’s the difference between them?



a breach is an act or instance of breaking or failing to observe something that was in a mutual contract.


1. The company considered the late payment by the client a breach of their contractual agreement.

2. The data breach exposed sensitive information about thousands of customers, leading to concerns about privacy.

3. His failure to deliver the goods on time resulted in a breach of the sales contract.



a violation is acting illegally against the rules.


1. Speeding on the highway is a violation of traffic laws and can lead to fines and penalties.

2. Smoking in a non-smoking area is a violation of the building's policy and can result in eviction.

3. The environmental agency fined the factory for the violation of emissions regulations, which were meant to protect the air quality.

Learn similar and opposite words to spot the difference




1. Infraction

2. Violation

3. Transgression

4. Breach of trust

5. Breach of contract

1. Adherence

2. Obedience

3. Respect

4. Compliance

5. Abide by the Rules


1. Infringement

2. Transgression

3. Breach of Law

4. Disregard for the Rules

5. Flouting of Regulations

1. Adherence

2. Obedience

3. Respect

4. Compliance

5. Abide by the Rules

Tricks for mastery

Useful tips to understand the difference between confusing words "Breach", "Violation".

1. 'Breach' rhymes with 'leach' to help you remember that a breach is an act of failing to observe something that was agreed upon.

2. 'Violation' rhymes with 'deviation' to help you remember that a violation is an illegal act against the rules.

3. Pay attention to the context and surrounding words when deciding whether to use breach or violation.

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Frequently asked questions

In what situations should the first word 'breach' be used?

A breach should be used when referring to an act or instance of breaking or failing to observe a mutual contract. This could be a contract between two parties, a company and its customers, or any other situation where an agreement between two parties has been broken.

When is the appropriate context for using the second word 'violation'?

Violation should be used when referring to an illegal act that has been committed against a rule or law. This could be a criminal act such as theft or vandalism, but it could also refer to civil violations such as not paying a debt or an unlicensed business activity.

Do the two words share the same pronunciation?

No, the two words have different pronunciations. Breach is pronounced /briːtʃ/, while violation is pronounced /ˌvaɪ.əˈleɪ.ʃən/.

What are some common mistakes people make when using these words?

One of the most common mistakes people make when using these words is confusing them. While they both refer to an act of breaking or not adhering to a rule, the context and implications of each are different. Another common mistake is using the wrong pronunciation of the words, as the two words are pronounced differently.

Fill in the gaps to check yourself

1. The company faced serious penalties after a _________ of their clients data privacy.

2. Parking in a no-parking zone would be a _________ of the citys traffic rules.

3. Signing a non-disclosure agreement and then sharing the information is a clear _________ of trust.

4. The unauthorized access to the secure facility was considered a major security _________.

5. Using copyrighted music without permission is a _________ of intellectual property rights.

6. The tenant was evicted due to a _________ of the rental agreement terms.

1. breach

Explanation: Here, the context indicates the failure to observe something mutually agreed upon, i.e., data privacy. Breach fits better in describing an instance where something from a contract or agreement is not followed.

2. violation

Explanation: Traffic rules are a set of legal regulations, and going against them would be acting illegally, hence the term violation is more appropriate.

3. breach

Explanation: The reference to a non-disclosure agreement points towards a mutual contract or understanding, making breach the suitable choice.

4. breach

Explanation: In the context of security, unauthorized access often signifies a breach or breaking of established protocols.

5. violation

Explanation: Intellectual property rights are legal rights. Using copyrighted content without permission would be acting against these legal rules, thus constituting a violation.

6. breach

Explanation: A rental agreement is a mutual contract between a tenant and a landlord. Failing to observe the terms of this contract would be a breach.

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List of Commonly Confused Words

Finding your way around the English language can be hard, especially since there are so many confusing words and rules. So, a list of the most confusing words in English is an extremely useful tool for improving language accuracy and sharing the ideas clearly.