Hi all,

I am a new member here, and would like to thank the moderators for such helpful forum.

Please advise me regarding the difference between the following words:

1. Adapt and Adjust.
2. Alter and Change.
3. Renew and Renovate. (Is it correct that Renovate is only for buildings and furnitures?)
4. Modifications and Amendments.

There is other words which confuse me, but I don't want to make a big list here.

I would appreciate any web site specialised in this topic.

Thanks in advance.

Best regards,
Hi Sherif,

Welcome to EF, and I hope you are enjoying it.

Semantic differences between synonyms are often slight and dependent upon collocation and usage.

A brief look at your word pairs suggests to me:

1. Adapt and Adjust -- 'Adapt' has an organic sense: 'animal species adapt to their environment', and it suggests long term changes. 'Adjust' suggests shorter-term or less complex changes: 'I adjusted the TV', 'He adjusted/adapted to his new school'.

2. Alter and Change -- 'Alter' seems more specific, more purposeful than 'change'. 'They altered the church facade', 'she altered her dress' (she sewed it) vs 'she changed her dress' (she put on a new one).

3. Renew and Renovate -- I would also think that 'renovate' is used mostly for buildings or institutions, where 'renew' is the more general term. 'I renewed my library card'.

4. Modifications and Amendments -- Both are purposeful changes, but we tend to use 'amendments' for changes to documents and laws, while 'modifications' are made to automobiles and plans.

Please understand that these are only my initial reactions. I am sure that other members will have other opinions and be able to offer many other differing examples. The possibilities are almost infinite.
Just my 2 cents.
2. Alter and Change -- You can alter an appearance, an article of clothing or a plan. Maybe an alteration is a more "tangible" but "substantive" sort of change? I say that because we don't use "alter" for personality changes.

3. Renew and Renovate -- To renew sounds more like to "continue" something (but with a brand new start), say, a membership or a rental renewal. To renovate sounds more like "to remake" something into good condition again.

4. Modifications and Amendments --
We make amendments to laws, regulations and other formal documents. But we can modify a word document, a spec., so "modify" has a more general use.