Do you find yourself using the words used vs. utilized interchangeably? If you do, you’re not alone. A lot of people write utilized when they could just as well write used. Ever wonder why? There’s a simple answer: used vs. utilized mean the same thing. We explain why in this post.
Why used vs. utilized aren’t as different as you think
Some people give utilized a lot more love than used because they think utilized sounds smarter and more impressive. In reality, though, there’s almost never a good reason to write utilized instead of used. Why? Because used is shorter and both words mean the same thing in most contexts (other than when you’re talking about nutrient uptake, which we’re sure most of you usually aren’t).
When you’re writing in a business or academic context, strong writing = concise writing. The easiest sentences to read are the ones that use the shortest and fewest words possible to say what they need to say. A lot of people think that they’ll sound more intelligent to a reader if they use long words like utilized and utilization, words that have become commonplace in corporate and legal documents. However, smart readers see right through this. They know that the people who really know what they’re talking about are the ones who can express their ideas as concisely as possible.
Except in very specific contexts, utilized doesn’t add anything to a sentence beyond what used does, so it’s hard to make a case for using it. Why let a longer word eat up your character limit in a project proposal or digital ad when you could write a shorter word and save space for text that’s actually going to add something to your content? And why make your sentence more cumbersome to read when you can use a shorter word that means the same thing?
Why using used vs. utilized is worth it
It may not seem like you’re gaining a lot when you replace utilized with used, but if you replace longer words with shorter equivalents across multiple sentences and paragraphs, you can actually save quite a bit of space. You’ll also make your readers’ lives easier, and they’ll thank you for it.
Used vs. utilized may not differ, but compose vs. comprise do. Make sure you’re using these words correctly by checking out this post.