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Give Up vs. Give In: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Harlon Moss || Published on November 19, 2023
"Give up" means to quit or surrender, while "give in" means to yield or submit to pressure or demand.

Key Differences

"Give up" and "give in" are both phrasal verbs that, at first glance, seem to convey a similar sense of conceding or relinquishing. However, they differ in context and nuance, each serving a unique purpose in the English language.
"Give up" primarily denotes cessation or abandonment, often referring to an activity, goal, or effort. When someone "gives up," they are stopping what they're doing, whether due to difficulty, hopelessness, or other reasons. For instance, if a person decides not to continue trying to solve a difficult puzzle, they have given up on it.
Conversely, "give in" implies succumbing to some form of pressure or influence. The emphasis is on yielding or submitting to an external force or demand. For example, if parents finally buy a toy for their child after repeated requests, they have given in to the child's persistence.
Another subtle distinction between "give up" and "give in" lies in their range of application. While "give up" can be used more broadly, encompassing both personal endeavors and reactions to external pressures, "give in" is generally specific to reacting to external forces, demands, or influences.
In essence, while both phrases denote a form of surrender, "give up" has a broader application with a focus on abandonment, and "give in" zeroes in on yielding to external pressures or demands.

Comparison Chart

Primary Meaning

To quit or abandon
To yield or submit to pressure or demand

Context of Use

Personal endeavors and reactions to external pressures
Reactions to external pressures or demands


Stopping due to difficulty or hopelessness
Succumbing to an external force


Broad, encompassing both internal and external situations
Generally specific to external pressures or demands


Give up smoking, give up on a dream
Give in to temptation, give in to a child's request

Give Up and Give In Definitions

Give Up

To surrender oneself.
The criminal gave up to the police.

Give In

To submit or present something.
He had to give in his assignment by Friday.

Give Up

To abandon hope or expectation.
They gave up on finding the lost cat.

Give In

To acknowledge defeat.
After a long game, the chess player finally gave in.

Give Up

To stop trying to figure something out.
I give up, what's the answer to the riddle?

Give In

To concede a point in an argument.
After much debate, he gave in and accepted her point.

Give Up

To relinquish possession or control.
She had to give up her old teddy bear.

Give In

To allow oneself to be persuaded.
She didn't want dessert, but gave in when she saw the cake.

Give Up

To cease an activity or effort.
He decided to give up playing the guitar.

Give In

To yield to pressure or demands.
After hours of negotiation, the company finally gave in.


When should I use "give up"?

Use "give up" when referring to quitting, abandoning, or ceasing an activity or effort.

Does "give up" always indicate failure?

Not always; it can simply mean stopping an activity or effort for various reasons.

If someone agrees after much persuasion, did they "give up" or "give in"?

They "gave in."

Is "give up" synonymous with "quit"?

Yes, in many contexts they can be used interchangeably.

Can "give in" be used in the context of submitting documents?

Yes, as in "give in your application."

Can "give in" be used when handing over a physical item?

Yes, like "give in your papers" or "give in your keys."

If someone stops chasing a personal dream, did they "give up" or "give in"?

They "gave up."

If someone agrees to a demand after resisting, did they "give up" or "give in"?

They "gave in."

Is "giving in" a sign of weakness?

Not necessarily, it can be a strategic or pragmatic choice.

Is it correct to say "I won't give up on you"?

Yes, it means "I won't abandon or lose faith in you."

Which phrase emphasizes a more passive action, "give up" or "give in"?

"Give in" often implies a more passive yielding to external pressures.

If someone yields in a debate, did they "give up" or "give in"?

They "gave in."

Is "give up" used when discussing relinquishing rights or claims?

Yes, as in "He gave up his claim to the throne."

Which is more final, "give up" or "give in"?

"Give up" often has a more final connotation, suggesting total abandonment or cessation.

Can "give up" mean to surrender in a conflict?

Yes, as in "The army gave up after days of fighting."

Does "give in" always indicate external pressure?

Generally, yes, as it implies yielding to some external force or demand.

If someone finally agrees to a request after denying it multiple times, did they "give up" or "give in"?

They "gave in."

Can you say "give up on a person"?

Yes, it means to lose faith or hope in that person.

Can "give up" be used when referring to habits?

Yes, as in "give up smoking" or "give up drinking."

Can "give up" be used to indicate a sacrifice?

Yes, as in "She gave up her seat for the elderly man."
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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