English as a Second Language/DIFFERENCE BETWEEN


Hi Amy,

Just get confused to the differences of some words.

1.) Intellectual versus intelligent (Some say being intellectual is better, some say being intelligent is better)

2.) Confirm versus affirm.

Which words are better to use in constructing sentences? Which are more positive than the other?

Hey, Thanks again for your prompt, accurate and clear responses.

Very Truly Yours,


Hey Bernard,

you're more than welcome. I'm glad to hear you're getting the answers you're looking for.

1) Intellectual vs intelligent:

The dictionary definitions for the two words are along these lines:
* intellectual (as a noun) is a person using his//her mind in a creative way, a person who has a highly developed intellect
* intellectual (as an adjective) means involving intelligence, performed by the intellect, characterized by intelligence or high thinking capacity
* intelligent (as an adjective) means having or showing intelligence (high mental capacity), reflecting good judgement

My personal interpretation of these words:
Intellect is the brain's capacity of knowledge and reason. Intelligence is the practical manifestation of knowledge to think in complex, unique ways. Simplistically said, intellect is knowing a lot, while intelligence is more about putting knowledge to use. Some say that intelligent means just smart, and is a more general term, while intellectual implies an active interest in learning, in subjects that require intelligence to understand. Most times this is more of a philosophical debate than a linguistic one.

Which one of the two is better ...well, that depends on what you're trying to say. I wouldn't say that one is more positive than the other, because I don't really consider the two words as being synonyms (that's just my personal belief though), so the answer to your question is not a straightforward one :(

2. confirm vs affirm

affirm refers to something that is true,
confirm on the other hand carries an element of validation, it expresses agreement or consent (and it usually involves saying something again).
Affirm is (I think) much less used than confirm, but they are NOT synonyms. In terms of positivity - affirm is more positive, while confirm can be used in both positive and negative statements.
for ex:
Members of this forum must affirm they want their personal details displayed.
This videoclip confirms your presence in the hotel.
My doctor believes I have an infection, but my blood work does not confirm that.

Please write back if this doesn't clarify things for you.
Looking forward to hearing from you in the future.

Best regards,
Amy Baker

English as a Second Language

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Amy Baker


I can answer question about grammar, spelling, syntax, idioms, reading and/or writing that pertain to English as a Second Language. I am knowledgeable about both TOEFL and IELTS.


I'm a certified ESL teacher with 12 years of experience teaching K-12 and adults.

BSc MEd TESL post grad program for k-12 TESL post grad program for adult ed

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