Distinguishing Between Modify & Change

Modify and change are two verbs commonly used in the English language, and it can be difficult for non-native speakers to differentiate between the two due to their similar meanings. This is more of an issue in written language rather than spoken English. Modification sometimes refers to improvement or upgrade, while change is more neutral in this respect. Let’s look at more significant differences between modify and change.

Key Takeaways

  • Both modify and change are almost synonyms, but they cannot be used interchangeably in every situation.
  • Modify comes from modification, which refers to small changes made in an existing condition, law, or program instead of repealing something and bringing in something new altogether.
  • Phone numbers, names, and addresses get changed, not modified.

Modify refers to making minor alterations while keeping the basic structure the same. This can be done in controls, behaviors, and even legislation to make it more suitable and effective. When it comes to modifying a law, the law is not repealed but only improved to better represent the aspirations of the people. If the existing law appears tough or draconian, demonstrations and sit-ins by the population may be enough to make a government realize its mistake. The law is then amended or modified to make it more representative of the people of the country.

Change, on the other hand, is used when there is a complete replacement or alteration. If someone changes their name altogether, it is a change and not a modification. Similarly, if a family moves from a rented house in one locality to another, they are said to have changed their address. The same applies to phone numbers, as people change their operators and get their phone numbers changed. In these circumstances, change is the more suitable word.

Change is also used to refer to smaller coins or notes of smaller denominations that people seek when they need them but have notes of larger denominations. Additionally, change is used to describe behavioral changes that are affected using different techniques or stimulants.

Gil Tillard
Gil Tillard
Gil Tillard is an accomplished writer with expertise in creating engaging articles and content across various platforms. His dedication to research and crafting high-quality content has led to over 5 years of professional writing and editing experience. In his personal life, Gil enjoys connecting with people from diverse backgrounds and cultures. His curiosity and eagerness to learn from others fuel his passion for communication. He believes that engaging with strangers can be both enlightening and enjoyable, making it easier to strike up conversations and expand one's horizons.


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