Difference Between Keep and Maintain

Keep vs Maintain

Keep and maintain are both verbs that refer to the act of holding and preserving something. However, there are obviously differences between keep and maintain as both are used in different contexts and one cannot be used in place of the other in all situations. This article takes a closer look at the two verbs to find out their differences.


Maintenance is the word that comes to mind when we think of maintain. We maintain things, appliances, and even ethical standards. Roads are there to be maintained; we maintain machines by getting them serviced periodically, and we are required to maintain temperatures during baking. Maintain is a word that suggests an act of keeping something intact or in its original condition.


Keep is a word that has several meanings. We are faithful when we keep our promises and are punctual when we keep appointments. But the other meaning of keep is to maintain or to preserve as when we keep a garden or when we keep a dog or another pet. We also keep records and keep a diary to record events. We ask others to keep their temper or to keep their seats. Keep to your right or left means to maintain the same direction or course. When we ask someone to keep off the grass in our lawn, we effectively ask him staying away from the grass. To keep company is to provide someone company and to keep an eye on is to keep a vigil. When someone says he keeps the house, he wants to let others know that he is in charge of all the cleaning and maintenance inside the house. When we ask someone to keep to himself, we are asking him maintaining secrecy.

Keep vs Maintain

• To maintain is to preserve something in its original condition like maintaining a machine, a road, a jacket, long hairs, etc.

• Keep is a word that has several meanings, as above explained.

• In keep up, keep quiet, and keep going, the meaning is same as is reflected by the word maintain.

• You maintain speed, but you keep a dog

• Keep your mouth shut cannot be the same with maintain, but you maintain silence.