Postpone vs Delay
Difference between postpone and delay can be a little hard to pinpoint as postpone and delay are two words that are often confused due to the appearing similarity in their meanings. Actually they show some differences between them when it comes to their connotations and meanings. If someone talks about delaying something, then that person is going to make it slow or late. The process is going on. But as it is made slow, you will have to wait more to get the outcome. Then, when it comes to the word postpone, this is about removing an event from the present or near future and putting it further forward in the future. Here, the action does not happen at all in the present. You have to wait till the future date.
What does Postpone mean?
The word postpone is used in the sense of ‘keeping an event at a later date’ as in the sentence ‘the tournament was postponed to May’. In this sentence, the word ‘postpone’ suggests that the event, namely the tournament, was moved to a later date in the month of May. In many cases, the word postpone is used as opposite word to ‘advance’.
The President postponed the meeting due to the bad weather condition.
We got to know about the postponement of the election from the 8 o’clock news.
In the first sentence, the word postpone is used. As postpone is a verb in this sentence it shows the action the subject of this sentence (The President) does. Here, a meeting is pushed forward to a future date on the calendar. In the second sentence, the word postponement is used. Postponement is a noun. As a noun, it speaks about the act of putting something forward to the future without having it in the present or the near future.
What does Delay mean?
On the other hand, the word delay gives the sense of ‘taking more time than what is actually necessary’ as in the sentence ‘he delayed the process by two weeks’. You would understand that the person took two weeks more time to complete the process. Delaying is making something slow or late. That is why it takes more time than what is actually necessary.
The word delay is the noun form that has the adjectival form in the word ‘delaying’. Also, the word delay is used as a verb too. It is interesting to note that the word delay is often followed by the preposition ‘by’ as in the sentences given below.
The arrival of the train was delayed by 10 minutes.
The departure of the bus was delayed by one hour.
In both the sentences given above, you would find that the word delay was followed by the preposition ‘by.’ However, as you can see, the preposition by follows the word delay due to two reason. First, the preposition by followed the word delay, when it is used as a verb. Also, for the preposition by to follow the verb delay, it must want to give the time of the delay. Otherwise, you can just simply state something was delayed and stop.
In some cases, the word delay is followed by the preposition ‘of’ as in the sentence ‘there was a delay of 10 minutes’. In this sentence, the word delay is followed by the preposition ‘of’. Here also the same rules apply as it was observed regarding the use of ‘by’ after delay.
What is the difference between Postpone and Delay?
• The word postpone is used in the sense of ‘keeping an event at a later date.’ On the other hand, the word delay gives the sense of ‘taking more time than what is actually necessary.’ This is the important difference between the two words.
• The word delay is the noun form that has the adjectival form in the word ‘delaying’. Also, the word delay is used as verb too. On the other hand, the word postpone is a verb and it has the noun form in the word ‘postponement’. This is another difference between the two words.
• Sometimes prepositions by and of follow the word delay. However, that happens only when the word delay is used as a verb and you want to state the time by which some action was made slow. Such usual prepositional use is not associated with the word postpone. However, you may have to use an appropriate preposition depending on the context.
• Postpone is usually used with events. Delay is used with many things.
These are the differences between the two words delay and postpone.