Difference Between Use and Utilize

Use vs Utilize

Use and Utilize are verbs that have similar yet different meanings so as not to be confused with each other. When you are at a shop and realize you have left your mobile at home, you ask for permission to use the phone. Use means to employ an object for a specific purpose for which it is meant. On the other hand, to utilize is to make use of something for a purpose for which it is unintended for. In daily life, if you are not sure, it is better make use of ‘USE’ rather than ‘UTILIZE’ and no one finds fault with your English. If there indeed are subtle differences between use and utilize, they are not known to a majority of the population that makes use of these words interchangeably.


Use is a very common word that is used frequently by people and everyone understands its meaning, which is to employ something for a particular purpose. In daily life, it is the word use that is used overwhelmingly, which is reflected by the following sentences.

• I use my car to reach the office in time

• Use my mobile to make the call

• Use the computer to type the application

• He always uses a ball pen to write

In fact, utilize looks and feels odd to be used in place of use in daily life. Would you ever say that you utilize your pen to write?


Utilize is a verb that is used in place of use in situations and for things that are used for purposes other than for what they are meant. If someone says he utilized his teeth to open the can, all he wants to say is that he had to make use of his teeth to open the can as he could not find a can opener.

• I utilized my holidays to learn the craft of gardening.

• Utilize the headlight of your motorcycle to light up the area till electricity turns on.

• The old man utilized the umbrella he was holding to shoo the stray dog away.


What is the difference between Use and Utilize?

• Use and utilize are words with similar meanings though use can be used in all situations, whereas utilize is made use of in certain situations only when you put to use something for a purpose unintended for.

• We all know that a hockey stick is used to play hockey, but if you utilize the hockey stick to hit the thief, it clearly shows that you have used it for a purpose hitherto uncommon or unheard of.

• One uses a pen, a car, an umbrella, shoes, a computer, and so on while you utilize these or any other items when you make unintended use of these items.