Emoji vs Emoticon

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What’s the difference between them?



A small digital image or icon used to express an idea, emotion, etc., in electronic communication.


1. I sent my boss an emoji to let him know I was finished with the project.

2. My daughter loves to use emojis when texting her friends.

3. I was confused about the meaning of the emoji, so I looked it up online.



An emoticon is a representation of a facial expression, often created with punctuation marks and letters, to express a person's feelings or mood in a text message or other online communication.


1. I used a laughing emoticon to show my amusement at the joke.

2. She was so excited about the news that she sent an excited emoticon in response.

3. I used a wink emoticon to let him know I was joking.

Learn similar and opposite words to spot the difference




1. Smiley Face

2. Picture Character

3. Icon

4. Expression Symbol

5. Emoticon

1. Text

2. Typography

3. Words

4. Letters

5. Concrete communication


1. Smiley face

2. Emoji

3. Facial expression

4. Graphic symbol

5. Visual representation

1. Text

2. Verbality

3. Facial Expression

4. Realism

5. Pronunciation

Tricks for mastery

Useful tips to understand the difference between confusing words "Emoji", "Emoticon".

1. Remember that an emoticon is composed of punctuation marks and letters, while an emoji is a digital image.

2. Create mnemonic phrases to help remember the difference between the two words, such as 'emoticons have punctuation' or 'emojis have images'.

3. Emoticons use symbols, while Emojis use images.

Practice English with the Promova app and avoid misusing confusing words

Frequently asked questions

When should the word 'Emoji' be used?

Emoji should be used when you want to add visual interest and emotion to a message. They are commonly used in text messages and online conversations to convey emotions, such as happiness, sadness, or excitement.

When is the appropriate context for using the word 'Emoticon'?

The word 'Emoticon' is best used to refer to a facial expression made up of punctuation marks and letters, often used to express a person's feelings or mood in a text message or other online communication.

Do the two words share the same pronunciation?

No, the two words do not share the same pronunciation. The word 'Emoji' is pronounced 'E-moe-jee' and the word 'Emoticon' is pronounced 'E-moe-tih-kon'.

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

A common mistake is confusing the two words, using the wrong one in the wrong context. Another mistake is using them in a way that is not appropriate or relevant to the conversation. Additionally, some people do not know how to properly pronounce either word.

Fill in the gaps to check yourself

1. Back in the early days of texting, people often used _________ like :-) to express their feelings.

2. Modern smartphones have a wide variety of _________ for users to choose from.

3. The wink _________ ;-) was commonly used in chat rooms.

4. The movie The _________ Movie was released in 2017 and was about the little icon characters living inside a phone.

5. Traditional _________ are made using punctuation marks and symbols.

6. Nowadays, people prefer using colorful _________ over the black and white ones made from keyboard symbols.

1. emoticon

Explanation: The text refers to the early days of texting where punctuation marks were used to express feelings. The specific example :-) is a classic emoticon.

2. emoji

Explanation: Modern smartphones provide colorful, image-based icons which are referred to as emojis.

3. emoticon

Explanation: The wink represented by ;-) is a classic example of an emoticon created using punctuation.

4. emoji

Explanation: The Emoji Movie is a film about the colorful icons used in modern messaging. Hence, the word emoji fits.

5. emoticon

Explanation: Emoticons are traditionally created using punctuation marks and symbols on the keyboard, contrasting them with the colorful emojis.

6. emoji

Explanation: The reference to colorful icons versus black and white ones made from keyboard symbols suggests the distinction between emoji (colorful) and emoticon (keyboard symbols).

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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.