Present vs Gift
The difference between present and gift exist in the usage of the two words. The word present is used in the sense of ‘reward.’ On the other hand, the word gift is used in the sense of ‘donation.’ This is the subtle difference between the two words. The word present sometimes gives the meaning of ‘memento’ as in the sentence ‘the speaker was given a present by the organizers.’ In this sentence, the word present carries a special meaning of ‘memento.’ However, you must have seen that both present and gift are used as synonyms in the English language. That usage is fine because they both imply that something is given to someone else without expecting anything back from the receiver.
What does Present mean?
Present is something that we give to someone else without expecting anything in return. Present is used with the meanings ‘reward’ and ‘memento’ too. Take a look at the following sentences.
The boy received a number of presents on his birthday.
Angela accepted the present given to her by her uncle for her excellent results.
In both the sentences, you can find that the word present is used in the sense of ‘reward.’ Hence, the meaning of the first sentence would be ‘the boy received a number of rewards on his birthday.’ In the same manner, the meaning of the second sentence would be ‘Angela accepted the reward given to her by her uncle for her excellent results.’ Angela got this reward because she passed the exam with flying colours. This only shows that a present is normally won on account of appreciation. Now, have a look at the following example.
My aunt bought a beautiful miniature statue of Eiffel Tower for me during our vacation in France.
In the sentence given above, the word present is rather used in the sense of memento. That is because this present was bought by the aunt to her niece to remember about the trip they had. There is another important fact all of these examples have in common. If you look at them again, you will see that each example depicts an event from our day to day life; a moment which we spend with our friends or family. That is to say that present is usually the word that is used in informal context.
What does Gift mean?
Gift also mainly implies something that a person gives to another without expecting anything in return. On the other hand, a gift is given as a donation as in the expressions ‘gift check’. Look at the sentences given below.
A number of clothes were gifted by him to the home for the aged.
The orphanage accepts gifts from the noble hearted.
In both the sentences, you can find that the word gift is used in the sense of ‘donation.’ Hence, the first sentence would be rewritten as ‘a number of clothes were donated by him to the home for the aged.’ In the same manner, the second sentence could be rewritten as ‘the orphanage accepts donations from the noble hearted.’
In you look at the examples given above again, you will see that these situations are not situations that involve giving something to the family or a friend. These are more formal situations. So, in such a formal situation if you are giving something to someone that is a gift, not a present.
What is the difference between Present and Gift?
• Both present and gift basically means giving something to someone else without expecting anything in return.
• Present can carry the meanings such as reward and memento.
• Gift can carry the meanings such as donation.
• A present is normally given to appreciate someone or to remember an event or a place.
• A gift is normally given to help someone or to appreciate someone in a formal capacity.
• Present is the word used in the informal language in the informal context.
• Gift is the word used in the formal language in the formal context.
These are the differences between the two words, present and gift. So, next time when you are using the words present and gift think of the context and use the appropriate word.