English as a Second Language/two questions



Hope you are fine.

I have two questions:

1) What is the difference between "author" and "writer" in English?

Second question: What is the difference between "pupil" and "student" in English?


ANSWER: Hi, Hame,

I‘ll take your questions one at a time, starting with ‘author/writer’ I’m afraid I can’t help you very much with this one. As you see from the definitions below (http://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english), there is very little difference in meaning between the two words.

1.   a person who composes a book, article, or other written work
2.   a person who writes books as a profession; writer
3.   the writings of such a person   ⇒ reviewing a postwar author
4.   an originator or creator   ⇒ the author of this plan

1.   a person who writes books, articles, etc, esp as an occupation
2.   the person who has written something specified
3.   a person who is able to write or write well
4.   a scribe or clerk
5.   a composer of music

‘Writer’ has a wider range of meanings than ‘author’ so, if in doubt, use that word – it will almost always be correct. I realize that this is not very helpful, but I am afraid it’s the best I can do. I suggest that you look at the way some writers (!) have used the word in the many examples given in the links below.  You may be able to develop some sort of feel for the way the words are used.

Incidentally, the FRAZE.IT site to which I have provided links is a very useful site for seeing how native speakers have used words you are unsure of.

I’m sorry I couldn’t be more helpful.

With best wishes,


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: thanks. And what is the difference between "student" and "pupil"?

I thank you for taking the time to help me.
May God bless you and take care

Hi, Hame,

Once again, as these Collins dictionary definitions show, there is no clear difference in meaning:

1.   a student who is taught by a teacher, esp a young student
2.   (civil law, Scots law) a boy under 14 or a girl under 12 who is in the care of a guardian

1.   a person following a course of study, as in a school, college, university, etc
  (as modifier)   ⇒ student teacher
2.   a person who makes a thorough study of a subject

When I was at school in England half a century ago, anybody up to the age of 18/19 was a 'pupil'; nowadays all but the youngest are 'students'. As with the previous pair of words you asked about, I would suggest that one (in this case 'student') is almost always acceptable. The other is often inappropriate. As before, you may find that looking at sample sentences on the FRAZE.IT site may help give you a feel for the words.

With best wishes,


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Jed Webb


I can assist with questions about English grammar (syntax, morphology, pronunciation and spelling)from learners taking such examinations as TOEFL, IELTS, FCE and CAE and other internationally recognised tests.


I have over forty years of experience in the teaching of modern languages, twenty-four of them in the Teaching of English as a Second Language. I have been an examiner for FCE, BEC and IELTS examinations, and a teacher trainer on courses leading to the Trinity College Certificate in TESOL.

The Philological Society The International Phonetic Association The College of Teachers The International Association of Teachers of EFL The Royal Society of Arts (Fellow)

British Journal of Language Teaching, Vol XIX Nos I and II Education Today, Vol 41, Nos 1 and 3 Co-Author: Nix and Webb (1984) 'Creative English', Bad Homburg: Verlag Gehlen Contributor: Nix and Riederer (1973), 'Bottoms Up', Bad Homburg: Verlag Gehlen Rosenau and Nix, (1979), 'Look it up', Bad Homburg: Verlag Gehlen Nix and Ringholz, 'English in Projects', Bad Homburg: Verlag Gehlen

BA (English), University of Durham. Qualified Teacher Status, UK Department of Education and Science Further and Adult Education Teacher's Certificate, City and Guilds of London Institute ACP(TESOL), College of Preceptors Dip TESOL, Trinity College, London Dip Ed (ELT), Exeter University ACP (Management Studies in Education), College of Teachers Certificate of Proficiency in the Phonetics of English, International Phonetic Association

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I have taught: General and Business English classes for: Alcan, Allianz Versicherung, Robert Bosch, Daimler-Benz, Ford, Hewlett Packard, Kodak, Mövenpick, Radiomobil (O2), Siemens, Unilever. TOEFL and FCE classes for: eská Spoitelna,SOB, Czech Ministry of Trade, Czech Statistics Office.

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