Ask a Teacher: Study or Learn?
English language learners use the verbs "study" and "learn" all the time. Yet, they often are unsure which to choose in a situation. Our subject today comes from Salah of Yemen. The writer asks:
英語學習者一直都在使用 study 和 learn 這兩個動詞。然而，他們往往不確定在具體情況下該用哪一個。我們今天的話題來自于也門的薩拉赫。他問道：
I would like to know the difference between "study" and "learn." Thanks! - Salah, Yemen
我想知道 study 和 learn 這兩個單詞之間的區別，謝謝！— 也門，薩拉赫。
Hello, Salah, and thanks for your note!
Let's begin with the dictionary meaning of each word. These are from the Merriam-Webster Learner's Dictionary:
To study means to read, memorize facts or attend school in order to learn about a subject.
To study 是指閱讀、背誦或是上學以便學會某個學科。
To learn means to gain knowledge or skill by studying, practicing, being taught or experiencing something.
To learn 是指通過學習、實踐、接受教育或是親身體驗來獲得知識或技能。
So, studying is just one way of learning. But, it is not the only way.
所以，study 只是 learn 的一種途徑，但是它不是唯一途徑。
Sometimes, we learn through experience. For example, if you travel to Thailand, you can visit a lot of sights, try the traditional foods and talk to the local people. By the time you leave, you will have gained a lot of knowledge about the country. So, you can say, "I learned so much about Thailand!"
You could not say, "I studied so much about Thailand!" because your actions did not mainly involve reading, memorizing facts, taking a course, attending school or something similar.
In addition, when you study something, you have not learned it yet.
And, sometimes, you can even study something without learning it. For example, if you say, "I studied English," it may mean you took English classes. Or maybe you tried to teach yourself through an app or language website.
But maybe you had difficulty with this and still do not know how to speak the language. In that situation, you could not say, "I learned English," because that would mean you had gained enough knowledge to use it.
If the difference between "learn" and "study" is not clear yet, here are a few sentences that compare them:
如果還是搞不懂 learn 和 study 之間的區別，看看以下這些對照的例子：
He learned so much about Thailand on his trip.
He studied Thai history and culture in college.
They learned how to write stories in the new writing class.
They spent time studying the techniques of story-writing.
Where did you learn how to bake so well?
Did you study baking in school?
And one last tip for remembering the difference is this expression:
I studied but I did not learn anything.
And that's Ask a Teacher.
I'm Alice Bryant.