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Anticipate or expect. Is there a difference in meaning?
Many people use them interchangeably. But strictly speaking they have slightly different meanings.
If you expect something, you believe it will happen.
"We’re expecting snow later on."
In other words, we believe it will snow later on.
In contrast, anticipate means not merely to expect or believe something will happen.
It means to prepare for that thing happening.
"Anticipating snow, we packed our ski jackets."
In other words, because we expected snow, we prepared ourselves for it.
To remember the difference, it helps to know where the word ‘anticipate’ comes from.
Which is the Latin word ‘anticapere’, meaning ‘to take action in advance’.
And the ‘anti’ in anticipate comes from Latin ‘ante’ meaning ‘before’.
We see it in other words, for example:
Antechamber - a small room before a main room
Antipasti - a delicious selection of little dishes that Italians eat before a meal.
And ‘ante’ - the bet you place in poker before play begins.
So remember, anticipate means not merely to expect something, but to do something before it happens.
These days, many people use ‘anticipate’ and ‘expect’ interchangeably. But if you’re writing for careful readers, you’d be wise to observe the difference.
I’m Dr Clare Lynch of Doris and Bertie. Subscribe to the channel for more quick writing tips.