Use vs Utilize

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What’s the difference between them?



To employ something, typically for a particular purpose.


1. Use this cloth to clean the counter.

2. We should use our time wisely.

3. Please use your best judgement.



To utilize something means to use it or put it to practical use.


1. The company is utilizing the most up-to-date technology.

2. We should strive to utilize all available resources.

3. It's important to utilize your time efficiently.

Learn similar and opposite words to spot the difference




1. Utilize

2. Employ

3. Exercise

4. Leverage

5. Put to work

1. Discard

2. Neglect

3. Disregard

4. Not use

5. Abandon


1. Employ

2. Leverage

3. Avail oneself of

4. Make use of

5. Put into practice

1. Discard

2. Neglect

3. Disregard

4. Not use

5. Abandon

Tricks for mastery

Useful tips to understand the difference between confusing words "Use", "Utilize".

1. Remember that 'use' is a verb, which means it is an action word. 'Utilize' is also a verb, but it suggests a more practical application of something.

2. When in doubt, use 'use.' It is a much more commonly used word than 'utilize.'

3. Use 'utilize' only when you want to emphasize the practical application of something.

Check the full list of commonly confused words in English

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Frequently asked questions

When should 'Use' be used?

Use should be used when wanting to employ something, typically for a particular purpose. It is generally used to describe the action of making something serve a purpose.

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

Utilize should be used when wanting to use something or put it to practical use. This term is usually used to describe the act of making something serve a purpose in a more efficient manner.

Do the two words share the same pronunciation?

No, the two words do not share the same pronunciation. Use is pronounced /juz/, while utilize is pronounced /jutilaiz/

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

A common mistake people make when using these words is using the words interchangeably. While they have similar meanings, they are used in different contexts and should not be used indiscriminately.

Fill in the gaps to check yourself

1. Can you _____ this tool to open the bottle?

2. Companies often _____ advanced technologies to improve their products.

3. Its important to know how to _____ the resources you have effectively.

4. Why did you _____ such a complex method when a simpler one would have worked?

5. Do you know how to _____ this software for graphic design?

6. We should _____ renewable energy more to protect the environment.

1. use

Explanation: The action described is simple and straightforward, and the word use is more appropriate for everyday tasks.

2. utilize

Explanation: In the context of technological or professional settings, utilize can suggest a purposeful or strategic use of something, making it more fitting here.

3. utilize

Explanation: The sentence implies making the most out of the available resources, so utilize is suitable as it often carries a sense of using something to its fullest potential.

4. use

Explanation: The sentence contrasts a complex method with a simpler one. In this casual context and comparison, use is more fitting than the formal utilize.

5. use

Explanation: When referring to common tasks or actions, especially with familiar tools or software, use is the more natural choice.

6. utilize

Explanation: The context is about purposeful use for a specific goal (environmental protection), so utilize fits as it implies strategic or optimized use.

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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.