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(1) That room was full of children.
(2) That room was filled with children.


Would you native speakers perceive the two above as exactly the same? Or would you detect any difference between them?
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Comments  (Page 2) 
But you think nobody would say one of them is unnatural in the sentences in question (the sentences about the room in the first post) and we should use the other, right? 
I think that a native English speaker would not say "That's ridiculous. No one would ever say that," for either one. They are both okay.
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Speaking from a not-so native point of view, I would say both are similar in meaning in most contexts but there is a subtle difference

His is born with his head full of stupid ideas = descriptive = that's his nature and nothing smart would ever come out of him.

Paul is a pretty smart guy but lately his head is filled with stupid ideas; probably from hanging around with his degenerate friends = passive
"Full of" is simply an observation, while filled with implies action. The action is performed with anonymity when using "filled with," yet still shows an action.
Filled with is used when referring to concrete nouns
Full of is used when referring to abstract nouns.

Their tense is different.
"Filled with" implies action, in past tense.
"Full of" does not imply action, nor does it require a doer.

Glass filled with water
Glass full of life
Man filled with blood
Man full of ambitions
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AnonymousFull of is used when referring to abstract nouns.
A cup full of tea.
A jar full of candy.
AnonymousFilled with is used when referring to concrete nouns
Her life was filled with joy.
The opera was filled with wonder and enchantment.

That room was filled with children.

so how about this sentence " The glass is full ... water". which form is more natural? full of or full with?

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I'm a native English speaker.


For the most part both "full of" and "filled with" have the same meaning. However, "filled with" has a meaning that's just a tad more direct and literal.

For instance, if I were to say "The box was filled with oranges," then I would be saying that all of the space of the box was taken by oranges. However, if I were to say "The box was full of oranges," then I would be saying that there are a lot of oranges in the box (and that they bring the box close to being completely used, but not necessarily all the way.)


It is slightly more common to use "full of" in informal places than it is to use "filled with."


Also, it's important to note that "filled with" has an additional usage that "full of" does not. "Filled," in these cases, is the past participle of the verb "to fill," (it can also unrelatedly be used as the past tense), so it is used to form the passive voice. This in English is formed by this construction:

[form of] to be + [past participle of] a verb + by or with

For the passive mood, by may be used with all verbs, while with can only be used by particular ones like to fill.

For example, "The child is loved by its parent," or "The box is filled by air." or "The box is filled with air."

While the ancestor of "full" as the past participle of the ancestor of "to fill" about two thousand years ago, this usage it gone today and replaced wholly by "filled."

Hence, if you want to say that filling happened to something, use "filled," while if you're speaking just in a general sense, use "full."


Best Wishes.

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