Expressions used in Everyday Spoken English in Social and Professional contexts


1) find differences or features that stand out
  • How to MemorizePopularity HighProfessional MediumSocial
    • distinguish between, distinguishable features
  • Analysis
     When you distinguish something from something else you identify the features that make it unique or different from something else. You might say the 'distinguishing feature' of a robin is its red breast for example. This is the feature that identifies it from other birds. You might want to 'distinguish' what the problem is with something that is not working or 'distinguish' the factors or steps involved in something. This is a formal phrase used in academic and professional contexts more than social ones. Don't confuse this with the adjective 'distinguished' (see Meaning 2).
  • Social Examples (Basic)
    1. People tend to distinguish between good and bad according to their own moral code.
    2. It was difficult to distinguish between the twins because they looked and sounded identical.
    3. Can you think of any distinguishable features the robber had that will help us identify him?
  • Professional Examples (Basic)
    1. Many people cannot distinguish between branded and nonbranded cola in taste tests.
    2. We want our packaging to make our product easily distinguished from similar ones on supermarket shelves.
2) appear dignified or noble
  • How to MemorizePopularity LowProfessional MediumSocial
    • he looked very distinguished in his new suit
  • Analysis
     This is a very different use of the word 'distinguished', and it is always in the past tense form. However, it is not a verb, and it is used to describe someone's appearance. It means that they look noble or sophisticated, and it usually refers to how someone is dressed.
  • Social Examples (Basic)
    1. You look very distinguished tonight in that fancy suit of yours.
  • Professional Examples (Basic)
    1. I would like to introduce our distinguished guest Professor Marshall to address the room.
    2. We have designed a way to dress and serve our product so that it looks distinguished and sophisticated to the consumer.
  • Further Suggestions
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