Austin 拗四釘
Shop = Store? I've learned that a shop is a store, and vice versa. And I've been bearing in mind this equation until recently. Now my question is: Is one of the two more preferred than the other to a specific item? I mean, take "flower" for example, do you say/hear "flower shop" or "flower store" more often? Can it be possible that when this item is more likely to be "stored" for a longer period of time, more people go with "store"? Or is this one of those American English vs British English things? Or am I making a mountain out of a molehill here? Any comments or answers will help. Thanks!
Sep 5, 2008 4:04 PM
Answers · 4
In English language, no two words are exactly the same. True, they can have similar basic definitions. But how they are used is different. For example, 'shop' can be frequently used as a verb as in 'I like to shop at the mall.' But when 'store' is used as a verb, it means to keep something at a safe place. Also, 'store' most often is used to mean the 'grocery store' but in the U.S. they don't use 'shop' in this sense very often. Unless you say something like 'the corner shop' implying a smaller-sized store which is conveniently located in a neighborhood that people would walk to. My point here is, words like 'store' and 'shop' have many definitions & usages. My suggestion is to go to an online dictionary like Cambridge and look at different examples to help yourself understand different meanings. Generally, "store" would be the normal American usage, and "shop/shops" would be the normal British usage when you are referring to a grocery shop or supermarket where you buy food and other things (such as Tesco, Safeway, Wal-Mart, etc). However, in Britain most people use the plural "to the shops" or "down the shops", whereas Americans tend to use the singular "at the store". Of course, if I was going to the Tesco in the UK, I would most likely just say I was going to the supermarket. Hope this answers your question.
September 5, 2008
If you’re talking about a store versus a shop (the nouns, not the verbs to store or to shop) then it’s useful to know the history. A long time ago, they meant different things. A shop was where you purchased a trade or a service or an action – like a blacksmith shop is where you purchase the iron worker’s services, or a repair shop where you purchase the action of having your vehicle repaired. A shop owner did some craft, like sewing or welding. A store was where you purchased things – mercantile goods like flour, sugar, nails. The store owner didn’t do any craft, he just buys in bulk and sells in pieces. So there would be a General Store (to buy people food), or a Feed Store (to buy horse food) but a Barber Shop (to buy getting a haircut), Dressmaker’s Shop (to buy sewing services), Bookbinder’s Shop (to buy book making services) where you would buy the actions of the craftspeople. But that was along ago, and now the terms have a gray area between them.. Today, I’d say the term “store” is used commonly to mean large buildings where you buy mercantile (grocery store, department store), and the term “shop” is used for services (like an appliance repair shop) or to make it clear that the place is on the smaller size or is specialized (like a tobacco shop). There is a slight difference in meaning if I say “I have to stop at a couple stores on the way home” vs “I have to stop at a couple shops on the way home” . ‘Store’ would mean I’m stopping at big places to buy lots of stuff (like groceries or plants) and it is probably a chore. ‘Shop’ would mean I’m stopping at smaller specialized places to do errands (get my shoes fixed or my car tires rotated) or buy things that are more quaint (like tea or ribbons) and that it is probably more enjoyable and less of a chore. Note: This answer is for American usage, British / Canadian / Australian usage might be different.
September 6, 2008
What a cute question :-)) You'd say "flower shop", by the way. I never really thought about it...I guess I'd say shops get generally smaller than stores; Stores can be on the small side, but are usually much bigger. Shops are really never very big. Ever heard the term "Mom-and-Pop Shop"? Yeah.
September 5, 2008
haha, i think both will be understood but flower shop or floral shop are better choices. Also, i believe store suggests a variety of items sold whereas shop suggests more specific items that are being sold. But both are really similar, so don't worry too much. For example, we say grocery store more often than grocery shop...but both are pretty much understood. good luck
September 5, 2008
Still haven’t found your answers?
Write down your questions and let the native speakers help you!
Austin 拗四釘
Language Skills
Chinese (Mandarin), English
Learning Language
Chinese (Mandarin), English