Archive for March 21, 2011

the difference between words: anticipate and predict

Recently, one of my students asked me about the difference between “anticipate” and “predict”. That is what I’d like to write about today.

We use both “anticipate” and “predict” when talking about what we or another person think will happen in the future. The difference is that we use “anticipate” when the event will happen in the near future or at a specific time. We usually use “predict” when the event will happen further in the future or when we don’t know the specific time.

In addition, when we use “anticipate”, it sounds like we have some information that allows us to guess what will happen. When we use “predict”, we may or may not have some information which helps us to guess what will happen. Generally, it sounds like it’s simply the person’s opinion about what will happen. For example:

We anticipate at least 50 people will come to the party, so we’d better make sure we have enough food for everyone.

The weather forecaster said they anticipate that the storm will hit our city at about 9:00 p.m. tonight.

Based on our sales figures for last year, we anticipate an increase of about 30% in sales during the months of September and October.

I predict that people will live on the moon within 100 years.

Everyone in high school predicted that Ken would become rich one day, and they were right. He’s worth over 20 million dollars right now.

Some people are predicting that Chinese will replace English as the international language in the future, but I don’t think it will happen.

With both of these words, we can use the word “that” after them, but this is optional; many people leave it out, especially in conversation.

Also, we can put a noun after the word “anticipate”, as in my third example.

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