English as a Second Language/won't work vs isn't working


Dear Mr Cole,

1. My cell phone isn't working.
2. My cell phone won't work.

In daily conversation,is there any difference in the above sentences? Would be obligied if you could give me some examples.

Thanks for your help.

They are really the same, but in conversation there could be a small difference.

"My cell phone isn't working" is usually used more when there is a temporary problem with your phone.

"My cell phone won't work" usually implies that your phone has a more permanent problem.

Other examples:

My air conditioner isn't cooling the room.  (Why not?  Do you have the right setting?)
My air conditioner won't cool the room.  (You need a new air conditioner or get a repairman.)

English as a Second Language

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Shannon Cole


I can answer questions related to learning the English and Spanish language.


I have taught ESL and Spanish since 1998 at the university and middle school levels. I am a native of the U.S., and have taught in both the U.S. and Mexico.

I am owner and operator of www.coleinstitute.com, an online language school.

Georgia TESOL in Action (1999)

B.A. in Spanish; M.Ed. in Language Education

Past/Present Clients
I have clients worldwide, some who want their documents proofread, and others who take lessons with me through the Internet. Some work at high-profile companies and government organizations. Besides the U.S. and Mexico, my recent students come from South Korea, Switzerland, Turkey, Colombia, Russia, Italy, Paraguay, China, Japan, the Philippines, and Saudi Arabia.

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