For many people, the words ‘study‘ and ‘learn‘ are quite confusing. This is normal because these words have very similar meanings. However, they are not necessarily the same. Study and learn are used in different situations.
To better understand the difference between the two words, let’s define them first.
- to become a student of (something)
She is studying Math in the university.
The students study very hard for the exam.
- act (someone) does to learn something or gain knowledge/ process of taking in knowledge
He is studying English to communicate more easily with foreign friends.
Tom is studying the guide book intently.
- gain knowledge or skills
I learned how to dance from my sister.
I am starting to learn the difference between the two ideas.
- to know or become aware of (something)
I learned from Bill that you went to Hawaii for vacation, is that true?
- commit to memory
Have you learned your lines for the stage play yet?
Now that we have already stated their meanings, let’s have more examples.
I want to learn English but I don’t want to study!
——–> In this example, learn means to gain knowledge or to know. On the other hand, study means the act of doing something to learn. We can also change the sentence to: I want to know many things about English, but I don’t want to do something to know it (i.e. reading English books, taking English classes, etc.)
We can also take a look at these two sentences:
1. Yesterday, I studied English.
2. Yesterday, I learned English.
———> These two sentences have different meanings. Sentence # 1 means: Yesterday, I did something to gain knowledge about English (it can be reading a book or taking a class or doing English exercises). Sentence # 2 means: Yesterday, I learned English 100%. I already knew everything about English yesterday. Now, I don’t have to study anymore.
So, for this example, sentence # 1 is the correct expression. Sentence # 2 may not be true.
1. Yesterday, I studied a new word.
2. Yesterday, I learned a new word.
——-> Both sentences are correct but with different meanings. Sentence # 1 means: Yesterday, I studied a new word but I am not sure if I know it 100%. I might still have mistakes in using it. Sentence # 2 means: Yesterday, I learned a new word. Now, I can use the word correctly because I already know it.
To sum things up:
Studying is the process (act) of gaining knowledge. It’s the act of taking in information. It is what you do to know something.
Learning is to know something or to acquire knowledge. When you learn something, you are sure that you already know it.
You can study something but you may not learn it easily. For example, you can study dancing but it may take some months before you actually learn how to dance.
To study means to try to get knowledge by doing something.
To learn means to know something almost 100%… to know something by heart.
You study to learn.
You can also learn something even if you didn’t study for it. For example, a friend told you the meaning of a word. You learned it but you didn’t necessarily studied it. Or you learn from experience and experience is not something that you study.
I hope this post helps. If it’s still confusing, I’m sorry. This is the best I can do for now. ^-^