Use vs. Utilize

June 16, 2009

My friend and colleague Professor Andy Wood provides some insights into the usage of “Use vs. Utilize” today — interesting read.

I agree with him in that utilize is often used in place of use to bolster credibility. simple strategy: bigger word, stronger impact icon smile Use vs. Utilize

The Grammar Girl’s take on the usage can be summed up thus: If you’re just a regular person writing a regular sentence, you should probably just stick with the word “use.”

According to the AP Stylebook’s Ask the Editor section online:
Q. When is it appropriate to use “utilize” rather than “use?” – from Milwaukee on Thu, Sep 18, 2008
A. In some technical contexts, such as utilize waste heat.

As a writer working on fundraising proposals as well as magazine articles, I find myself using “utilize” in the former but almost never in the latter.

What’s your take?

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One Response to Use vs. Utilize

  1. BeccaNo Gravatar on June 21, 2009 at 10:17 am

    There is a distinction, and it should be observed. Professor Wood makes it, as does Dr. Ugar Akinci:—-How-To-Use-Use-Versus-Utilize-Correctly?&id=479574

    The basic rule is:

    “Use” is to employ objects for the purposes they were designed for.

    “Utilize,” on the other hand, is to employ objects for unintended purposes

    But I suppose if you are just a regular person who writes regular sentences, you don’t need to concern yourself with such nuances.


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