the difference between words: fast and early

Today I’d like to write about the difference between “fast” and “early”. I don’t know about other languages, but in Japanese they use the same word for both ideas.

The word “fast” is used to mean that someone does something quickly. For example:

I can run very fast. I won many races when I did track and field in high school.

Paul works very fast. He completed his last project in less than two weeks.

Wow! You got here really fast! There must have been very little traffic.

The word “early” is used to mean that someone arrives ahead of the scheduled time. For example:

I came early for the party because I thought I could help you get ready for it.

I like to get to work early. It gives me a chance to do some things without having a lot of people around.

Spring is early this year. Normally it doesn’t begin for three more weeks.

If you have trouble understanding the difference between these two words, think about it like this: “fast” is about the speed of something or someone and “early” is about when something or someone arrives.



  1. Chie Said:

    I can understand the difference between fast and early, but I wonder what is the difference among fast, quick, rapid and rush. I guess fast is focusing on the speed for something, quick implies the action of something or someone and rush , rapid mean very fast. Is my interpretation correct?

    By the way, fast and early in Japanese is the same pronunciation, but the kanji for each one is different. They are 速い and 早い. 🙂

    • Hi there.

      I didn’t know that about the different kanji for fast and early. That’s very interesting. I would say your interpretation of those words is generally correct but we generally use “rapid” to describe some kind of transportation such as a train and “rush” is a verb which has the same meaning as “hurry”. All the other words are adjectives though.


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