Friday, March 05, 2010

Use vs. Utilize (In Honor of Yesterday)

Utilize is not a fancy name for use. They actually mean two different things.  To utilize something means to use it in a way for which it was not intended.


You would use a wire hanger to hang up clothes.
You would utilize a wire hanger to make an antennae.

PepGiraffe used dental floss to floss her teeth.
PepGiraffe utilized dental floss to lace up her shoes.

What is tricky is that as far as I can tell, you can always substitute the word use for utilize, but not always the other way around. To get around this, never use the word utilize.  Unless you are talking about MacGyver.

Using wire hangers

Utilizing wire hangers (unsuccessfully)


  1. LOVE this. Especially the part about MacGyver.

  2. Thanks! I tried to find a link that would be appropriate, but Wikipedia was too wordy.