Useful vs. Use: What's the Difference?
"Useful" refers to the ability of something to be used effectively, while "use" refers to the act of utilizing something.
"Useful" is an adjective describing the practical utility or applicability of an object, concept, or method, suggesting that it can serve a purpose or fulfill a need efficiently. On the other hand, "use" is a verb denoting the action of employing something for a purpose, or it can be a noun representing the manner in which something is utilized. "Useful" implies effectiveness in use, while "use" denotes the act or manner of using.
A tool, for example, is deemed "useful" if it can perform its intended function efficiently and effectively, facilitating tasks for individuals. The "use" of a tool signifies the actual application or employment of the tool in performing a task. "Useful" evaluates the tool's efficacy, while "use" articulates its application.
In the context of skills or knowledge, being "useful" indicates that such skills or knowledge can effectively address or solve problems. The "use" of skills or knowledge entails applying them in real-world scenarios or problems. Here, "useful" characterizes the value or efficacy of skills or knowledge, whereas "use" involves the practical application of these elements.
In everyday language, saying an item is "useful" provides an assessment of its practical value or benefit in certain situations. The "use" of an item, conversely, refers to how individuals employ the item to achieve specific goals or tasks. "Useful" is an evaluative term, and "use" relates to action or application.
Therefore, "useful" and "use" interact conceptually, with "useful" providing a qualitative assessment of something's utility or value, and "use" indicating the actual employment or application of that thing. The distinction rests in one being a descriptor of value or efficiency ("useful") and the other representing action or application ("use").
Part of Speech
Describes the ability of something to be used effectively.
Refers to the act or manner of utilizing something.
Evaluative; assesses utility or applicability.
Action; denotes employing or applying.
A "useful" tool performs its function effectively.
"Use" a tool to perform a task.
Descriptive; characterizes objects, skills, or knowledge.
Expresses action or application of objects or skills
Useful and Use Definitions
Capable of being used advantageously or beneficially.
A map can be useful for navigating unfamiliar territories.
To employ for a purpose; to put into service.
I use a pen to write letters.
Serving a valuable purpose or practical function.
Knowing a second language is useful in many careers.
The act of utilizing something.
The use of pesticides has environmental impacts.
Contributing positively to a situation or outcome.
He provided some useful insights during the meeting.
The manner of treating or handling something.
The improper use of equipment can lead to damage.
Providing convenience or ease in accomplishing a task.
A dishwasher is useful for saving time in cleaning up after meals.
To put into service or employ for a purpose
I used a whisk to beat the eggs. The song uses only three chords.
Being of use or service; functioning effectively.
The guidelines were useful in creating a coherent design.
To avail oneself of; practice
Having a beneficial use; serviceable
A useful kitchen gadget.
To conduct oneself toward; treat or handle
"the peace offering of a man who once used you unkindly" (Laurence Sterne).
Being of practical use
A useful job.
Useful members of society.
To seek or achieve an end by means of; exploit
Used their highly placed friends to gain access to the president.
Felt he was being used by seekers of favor.
Having a practical or beneficial use.
To take or consume for a purpose
She used her savings to buy a computer.
Full of use, advantage, or profit; producing, or having power to produce, good; serviceable for any end or object; helpful toward advancing any purpose; beneficial; profitable; advantageous; as, vessels and instruments useful in a family; books useful for improvement; useful knowledge; useful arts.
To what can I useful!
To partake of, especially as a habit
She rarely uses alcohol.
Being of use or service;
The girl felt motherly and useful
A useful job
A useful member of society
(ys, yst) Used in the past tense followed by to in order to indicate a former state, habitual practice, or custom
Mail service used to be faster.
Of great importance or use or service;
(Slang) To take an illegal or narcotic drug, especially as a habit.
Capable of being turned to use or account;
Useful applications of calculus
The act of using something; the application or employment of something for a purpose
With the use of a calculator.
Skilled in the use of the bow and arrow.
Having a useful function;
Utilitarian steel tables
The condition or fact of being used
A chair in regular use.
The manner of using; usage
Learned the proper use of power tools.
The permission, privilege, or benefit of using something
Gave us the use of their summerhouse.
The power or ability to use something
Lost the use of one arm.
The need or occasion to use or employ something
I have no use for these old clothes.
The quality of being suitable or adaptable to an end; usefulness
I tried to be of use in the kitchen.
A purpose for which something is used
A tool with several uses.
A pretty bowl, but of what use is it?.
Gain or advantage; good
There's no use in discussing it. What's the use?.
Accustomed or usual procedure or practice
"We are but creatures of use and custom" (Mark Twain).
A particular custom or practice
Uses introduced by recent immigrants.
Enjoyment of property, as by occupying or employing it.
The benefit or profit of lands and tenements of which the legal title is vested in another.
The arrangement establishing the equitable right to such benefits and profits.
A liturgical form practiced in a particular church, ecclesiastical district, or community.
The act of using.
The use of torture has been condemned by the United Nations.
(uncountable) The act of consuming alcohol or narcotics.
What's the use of a law that nobody follows?
A function; a purpose for which something may be employed.
This tool has many uses.
Occasion or need to employ; necessity.
I have no further use for these textbooks.
Interest for lent money; premium paid for the use of something; usury.
(archaic) Continued or repeated practice; usage; habit.
(obsolete) Common occurrence; ordinary experience.
(Christianity) The special form of ritual adopted for use in any diocese.
The Sarum, or Canterbury, use; the Hereford use; the York use; the Roman use; etc.
(forging) A slab of iron welded to the side of a forging, such as a shaft, near the end, and afterward drawn down, by hammering, so as to lengthen the forging.
To utilize or employ.
(transitive) To employ; to apply; to utilize.
Use this knife to slice the bread.
We can use this mathematical formula to solve the problem.
To expend; to consume by employing.
I used the money they allotted me.
We should use up most of the fuel.
She used all the time allotted to complete the test.
(transitive) To exploit.
You never cared about me; you just used me!
(transitive) To consume (alcohol, drugs, etc), especially regularly.
He uses cocaine. I have never used drugs.
(intransitive) To consume a previously specified substance, especially a drug to which one is addicted.
Richard began experimenting with cocaine last year; now he uses almost every day.
To benefit from; to be able to employ or stand.
I could use a drink. My car could use a new coat of paint.
To accustom; to habituate. Now common only in participial form. Uses the same pronunciation as the noun; see usage notes.
To become accustomed, to accustom oneself.
To suggest, request, demand or expect that other people use a specific set of gender pronouns when referring to the subject.
I use they/them pronouns.
To habitually do; to be wont to do. (Now chiefly in past-tense forms; see used to.)
I used to get things done.
(dated) To behave toward; to act with regard to; to treat.
To use an animal cruelly
To behave, act, comport oneself.
The act of employing anything, or of applying it to one's service; the state of being so employed or applied; application; employment; conversion to some purpose; as, the use of a pen in writing; his machines are in general use.
Books can never teach the use of books.
This Davy serves you for good uses.
When he framedAll things to man's delightful use.
Occasion or need to employ; necessity; as, to have no further use for a book.
Yielding of service; advantage derived; capability of being used; usefulness; utility.
God made two great lights, great for their useTo man.
'T is use alone that sanctifies expense.
Continued or repeated practice; customary employment; usage; custom; manner; habit.
Let later age that noble use envy.
How weary, stale, flat and unprofitable,Seem to me all the uses of this world!
Common occurrence; ordinary experience.
O Cæsar! these things are beyond all use.
The special form of ritual adopted for use in any diocese; as, the Sarum, or Canterbury, use; the Hereford use; the York use; the Roman use; etc.
From henceforth all the whole realm shall have but one use.
The premium paid for the possession and employment of borrowed money; interest; usury.
Thou art more obliged to pay duty and tribute, use and principal, to him.
The benefit or profit of lands and tenements. Use imports a trust and confidence reposed in a man for the holding of lands. He to whose use or benefit the trust is intended shall enjoy the profits. An estate is granted and limited to A for the use of B.
A stab of iron welded to the side of a forging, as a shaft, near the end, and afterward drawn down, by hammering, so as to lengthen the forging.
To make use of; to convert to one's service; to avail one's self of; to employ; to put a purpose; as, to use a plow; to use a chair; to use time; to use flour for food; to use water for irrigation.
Launcelot Gobbo, use your legs.
Some other means I have which may be used.
To behave toward; to act with regard to; to treat; as, to use a beast cruelly.
How wouldst thou use me now?
Cato has used me ill.
To practice customarily; to make a practice of; as, to use diligence in business.
Use hospitality one to another.
To accustom; to habituate; to render familiar by practice; to inure; - employed chiefly in the passive participle; as, men used to cold and hunger; soldiers used to hardships and danger.
I am so used in the fire to blow.
Thou with thy compeers,Used to the yoke, draw'st his triumphant wheels.
I would, my son, that thou wouldst use the powerWhich thy discretion gives thee, to controlAnd manage all.
To study nature will thy time employ:Knowledge and innocence are perfect joy.
To be wont or accustomed; to be in the habit or practice; as, he used to ride daily; - now disused in the present tense, perhaps because of the similarity in sound, between "use to," and "used to."
They use to place him that shall be their captain on a stone.
Fears use to be represented in an imaginary.
Thus we use to say, it is the room that smokes, when indeed it is the fire in the room.
Now Moses used to take the tent and to pitch it without the camp.
To be accustomed to go; to frequent; to inhabit; to dwell; - sometimes followed by of.
He useth every day to a merchant's house.
Ye valleys low, where the mild whispers useOf shades, and wanton winds, and gushing brooks.
The act of using;
He warned against the use of narcotic drugs
Skilled in the utilization of computers
A particular service;
He put his knowledge to good use
Patrons have their uses
What something is used for;
The function of an auger is to bore holes
Ballet is beautiful but what use is it?
(economics) the utilization of economic goods to satisfy needs or in manufacturing;
The consumption of energy has increased steadily
A pattern of behavior acquired through frequent repetition;
She had a habit twirling the ends of her hair
Long use had hardened him to it
(law) the exercise of the legal right to enjoy the benefits of owning property;
We were given the use of his boat
Exerting shrewd or devious influence especially for one's own advantage;
His manipulation of his friends was scandalous
Put into service; make work or employ (something) for a particular purpose or for its inherent or natural purpose;
Use your head!
We only use Spanish at home
I can't make use of this tool
Apply a magnetic field here
This thinking was applied to many projects
How do you utilize this tool?
I apply this rule to get good results
Use the plastic bags to store the food
He doesn't know how to use a computer
Take or consume (regularly or habitually);
She uses drugs rarely
Seek or achieve an end by using to one's advantage;
She uses her influential friends to get jobs
The president's wife used her good connections
Use up, consume fully;
The legislature expended its time on school questions
Avail oneself to;
Apply a principle
Practice a religion
Use care when going down the stairs
Use your common sense
Practice non-violent resistance
Habitually do something (use only in the past tense);
She used to call her mother every week but now she calls only occasionally
I used to get sick when I ate in that dining hall
They used to vacation in the Bahamas
To consume or deplete by employing.
We use too much plastic every day.
To derive benefit from; to avail oneself of.
You can use this coupon to get a discount.
Can “use” be both a noun and a verb?
Yes, “use” can function as both a noun, representing the act or manner of using, and a verb, denoting the action of employing or utilizing.
Is something useful always beneficial?
Generally, if something is described as useful, it is considered to have beneficial qualities or value.
Does the use of an object determine its usefulness?
The use of an object can highlight its practicality or utility, but something can be inherently useful even if not currently in use.
Can a skill be considered useful?
Absolutely, skills that can effectively solve problems or fulfill needs are considered useful.
Can an object be useful but not used?
Yes, an object can be useful (having the ability to be used beneficially) but may not be currently in use.
Does “use” imply action?
Yes, as a verb, “use” implies the action of employing or utilizing something for a purpose.
Can the noun form of “use” refer to the manner of using something?
Yes, the noun form of “use” can refer to the manner or way in which something is used or treated.
Is “useful” an adjective?
Yes, “useful” is an adjective used to describe something that has utility or serves a beneficial purpose.
Is being useful subjective?
The perception of what is useful can be subjective and vary based on individual needs, preferences, and contexts.
Does the verb form of “use” relate to consumption?
Yes, to use something can also imply consuming or depleting it, such as using resources or energy.
Is the action depicted by “use” always physical?
No, “use” can depict both physical actions, like using a tool, and non-physical actions, like using one’s intellect.
Can knowledge be described as useful?
Yes, knowledge that can be applied effectively to solve problems or achieve goals is considered useful.
Can an idea be useful?
Certainly, ideas that contribute positively to achieving goals or solving problems are deemed useful.
Can the usefulness of something change over time?
Yes, what is considered useful can change based on evolving needs, advancements, or changes in circumstance.
Can “use” refer to habitual or customary practice?
Yes, “use” can also describe a habitual or customary practice or action.
Written bySawaira Riaz
Sawaira is a dedicated content editor at difference.wiki, where she meticulously refines articles to ensure clarity and accuracy. With a keen eye for detail, she upholds the site's commitment to delivering insightful and precise content.
Edited bySumera Saeed
Sumera is an experienced content writer and editor with a niche in comparative analysis. At Diffeence Wiki, she crafts clear and unbiased comparisons to guide readers in making informed decisions. With a dedication to thorough research and quality, Sumera's work stands out in the digital realm. Off the clock, she enjoys reading and exploring diverse cultures.