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:
英语学习者一直都在使用 study 和 learn 这两个动词。然而，他们往往不确定在具体情况下该用哪一个。我们今天的话题来自于也门的萨拉赫。他问道：
I would like to know the difference between "study" and "learn." Thanks! - Salah, Yemen
我想知道 study 和 learn 这两个单词之间的区别，谢谢！— 也门，萨拉赫。
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 是指阅读、背诵或是上学以便学会某个学科。
To learn means to gain knowledge or skill by studying, practicing, being taught or experiencing something.
To learn 是指通过学习、实践、接受教育或是亲身体验来获得知识或技能。
So, studying is just one way of learning. But, it is not the only way.
所以，study 只是 learn 的一种途径，但是它不是唯一途径。
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:
如果还是搞不懂 learn 和 study 之间的区别，看看以下这些对照的例子：
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.