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Learn vs. Learning — What's the Difference?

Edited by Tayyaba Rehman — By Fiza Rafique — Updated on October 24, 2023
"Learn" is a verb denoting the act of acquiring knowledge or skill, while "learning" can be a verb form (present participle) or a noun signifying the process or thing learned.
Learn vs. Learning — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Learn and Learning

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Key Differences

"Learn" is fundamentally a verb that indicates the action of acquiring knowledge or skills. Conversely, "learning" operates both as the continuous form of the verb "learn" and as a noun representing the acquisition process itself.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 24, 2023
When someone says they "learn," it often suggests a completed action or intent, like having gained a new skill or knowledge. "Learning," when employed as a verb, portrays an ongoing action, while as a noun, it underscores the continuous process or the acquired knowledge.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 24, 2023
Consider the difference in these contexts: "I want to learn Spanish" denotes a future intent. In contrast, "I am learning Spanish" reflects an ongoing endeavor, and "My learning experience was positive" treats "learning" as a tangible entity or experience.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 24, 2023
One can interpret "learn" as a foundational action. It's direct and points to the very act of acquiring. "Learning," however, extends this notion either into an ongoing scenario or encapsulates the broader experience or knowledge one gains.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 24, 2023
Conclusively, while "learn" zeroes in on the action of acquisition, "learning" offers a broader scope, emphasizing either the process's continuity or the outcome of such an action.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 24, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Grammatical Category

Verb
Present participle (verb) and Noun
Fiza Rafique
Oct 24, 2023

Tense Usage

Present, Past, Future
Present Continuous (as verb)
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Oct 24, 2023

Example Usage

I learn, I learned, I will learn
I am learning (verb), My learning is progressing (noun)
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Oct 24, 2023

Nature

Direct action
Ongoing process (verb) or the outcome/process (noun)
Fiza Rafique
Oct 24, 2023

Associated Phrases

Learn a lesson, learn by heart
Learning curve, learning process
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Oct 24, 2023

Compare with Definitions

Learn

To find out, often by experience or trial and error.
You'll learn patience as you grow older.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 24, 2023

Learning

Cognitive processes involved in acquiring skill or knowledge.
Effective teaching facilitates student learning.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 24, 2023

Learn

To become informed or aware of something.
She was surprised to learn of his departure.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 24, 2023

Learning

Knowledge or skill acquired through experience or study.
Her learning in mathematics is exceptional.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 24, 2023

Learn

To commit to memory.
We had to learn the poem by heart.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 24, 2023

Learning

The act or process of acquiring knowledge or skill.
Learning a new language can be challenging.
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Oct 24, 2023

Learn

To become accustomed to.
It took time to learn the new software.
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Oct 24, 2023

Learning

The state of being educated or enlightened.
Lifelong learning is a journey of personal growth.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 24, 2023

Learn

To gain knowledge of or skill in through study, instruction, or experience
Learned how to sail.
Learned the new computer program.
Learn to speak Hindi.
Fiza Rafique
Jun 11, 2021

Learning

(Psychology) Changes in behavior resulting from experience, especially changes due to conditioning.
Fiza Rafique
Jun 11, 2021

Learn

To become aware or informed of; find out
Learned the truth about him.
Learned that it was best not to argue.
Fiza Rafique
Jun 11, 2021

Learning

The modification of behavior through experience and training.
The dog's learning was evident after obedience classes.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 24, 2023

Learn

To fix in the mind or memory; memorize
Learned the speech in a few hours.
Fiza Rafique
Jun 11, 2021

Learning

Learning is the process of acquiring new understanding, knowledge, behaviors, skills, values, attitudes, and preferences. The ability to learn is possessed by humans, animals, and some machines; there is also evidence for some kind of learning in certain plants.
Fiza Rafique
Jun 11, 2021

Learn

(Nonstandard) To cause to acquire knowledge; teach.
Fiza Rafique
Jun 11, 2021

Learning

The acquisition of knowledge or skills through study, experience, or being taught
An important learning process
These children experienced difficulties in learning
Fiza Rafique
Jun 11, 2021

Learn

(Obsolete) To give information to.
Fiza Rafique
Jun 11, 2021

Learning

The act, process, or experience of gaining knowledge or skill.
Fiza Rafique
Jun 11, 2021

Learn

To gain knowledge, information, comprehension, or skill
Learns quickly.
Learned about computers.
Learned of the job through friends.
Fiza Rafique
Jun 11, 2021

Learning

Knowledge or skill gained through schooling or study.
Fiza Rafique
Jun 11, 2021

Learn

To acquire, or attempt to acquire knowledge or an ability to do something.
Fiza Rafique
Jun 11, 2021

Learning

(uncountable) An act in which something is learned.
Fiza Rafique
Jun 11, 2021

Learn

To attend a course or other educational activity.
Fiza Rafique
Jun 11, 2021

Learning

(uncountable) Accumulated knowledge.
The department head was also a scholar of great learning.
Fiza Rafique
Jun 11, 2021

Learn

To gain knowledge from a bad experience so as to improve.
Learn from one's mistakes
Fiza Rafique
Jun 11, 2021

Learning

(countable) Something that has been learned
Fiza Rafique
Jun 11, 2021

Learn

To study.
I learn medicine.
They learn psychology.
Fiza Rafique
Jun 11, 2021

Learning

Present participle of learn
I'm learning to ride a unicycle.
Fiza Rafique
Jun 11, 2021

Learn

To come to know; to become informed of; to find out.
He just learned that he will be sacked.
Fiza Rafique
Jun 11, 2021

Learning

The acquisition of knowledge or skill; as, the learning of languages; the learning of telegraphy.
Fiza Rafique
Jun 11, 2021

Learn

To teach.
Give him a clip round the ear. That'll learn him!
Fiza Rafique
Jun 11, 2021

Learning

The knowledge or skill received by instruction or study; acquired knowledge or ideas in any branch of science or literature; erudition; literature; science; as, he is a man of great learning.
Fiza Rafique
Jun 11, 2021

Learn

The act of learning something
Fiza Rafique
Jun 11, 2021

Learning

The cognitive process of acquiring skill or knowledge;
The child's acquisition of language
Fiza Rafique
Jun 11, 2021

Learn

To gain knowledge or information of; to ascertain by inquiry, study, or investigation; to receive instruction concerning; to fix in the mind; to acquire understanding of, or skill; as, to learn the way; to learn a lesson; to learn dancing; to learn to skate; to learn the violin; to learn the truth about something.
Now learn a parable of the fig tree.
Fiza Rafique
Jun 11, 2021

Learning

Profound scholarly knowledge
Fiza Rafique
Jun 11, 2021

Learn

To communicate knowledge to; to teach.
Hast thou not learned me howTo make perfumes ?
Fiza Rafique
Jun 11, 2021

Learn

To acquire knowledge or skill; to make progress in acquiring knowledge or skill; to receive information or instruction; as, this child learns quickly.
Take my yoke upon you and learn of me.
Fiza Rafique
Jun 11, 2021

Learn

Acquire or gain knowledge or skills;
She learned dancing from her sister
I learned Sanskrit
Children acquire language at an amazing rate
Fiza Rafique
Jun 11, 2021

Learn

Get to know or become aware of, usually accidentally;
I learned that she has two grown-up children
I see that you have been promoted
Fiza Rafique
Jun 11, 2021

Learn

Commit to memory; learn by heart;
Have you memorized your lines for the play yet?
Fiza Rafique
Jun 11, 2021

Learn

Be a student of a certain subject;
She is reading for the bar exam
Fiza Rafique
Jun 11, 2021

Learn

Impart skills or knowledge to;
I taught them French
He instructed me in building a boat
Fiza Rafique
Jun 11, 2021

Learn

Find out, learn, or determine with certainty, usually by making an inquiry or other effort;
I want to see whether she speaks French
See whether it works
Find out if he speaks Russian
Check whether the train leaves on time
Fiza Rafique
Jun 11, 2021

Learn

To acquire knowledge or skill.
I want to learn how to play the guitar.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 24, 2023

Common Curiosities

How is "learning curve" related to the word "learning"?

It refers to the time and effort required to learn something new.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 24, 2023

Is "learn" always an active process?

No, one can passively learn by observation or immersion.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 24, 2023

Is "learning" always a formal process?

No, learning can be formal (in schools) or informal (life experiences).
Fiza Rafique
Oct 24, 2023

Can "learn" be used interchangeably with "study"?

Not always. "Study" is deliberate, while "learn" can be incidental.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 24, 2023

Can "learning" represent both the journey and the outcome?

Yes, it can mean the process of acquiring or what is acquired.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 24, 2023

Can animals "learn"?

Yes, animals can learn behaviors through training or experience.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 24, 2023

Is "learned" the past form of "learn"?

Yes, "learned" is the past tense and past participle of "learn."
Fiza Rafique
Oct 24, 2023

Is it correct to say "I'm learning to learn"?

Yes, it indicates mastering the skill of acquiring knowledge.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 24, 2023

Is there a difference between "learning" and "education"?

Yes, while both involve acquiring knowledge, education often implies a structured system or institution.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 24, 2023

Can "learning" be a lifelong endeavor?

Absolutely, many believe in the concept of lifelong learning.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 24, 2023

Is "to learn" a regular or irregular verb?

It's regular, with forms like learn, learned, learned (or learnt in British English).
Fiza Rafique
Oct 24, 2023

Can "learning" be both a collective and individual experience?

Yes, learning can happen individually or in groups, like in classrooms.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 24, 2023

How does one "learn by doing"?

It means acquiring knowledge or skills through hands-on experience.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 24, 2023

Can "learning" occur unintentionally?

Yes, one can learn unintentionally through experiences or observations.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 24, 2023

How is "e-learning" related to "learning"?

"E-learning" refers to electronic learning, often online or through digital platforms.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 24, 2023

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Fiza Rafique
Fiza Rafique is a skilled content writer at AskDifference.com, where she meticulously refines and enhances written pieces. Drawing from her vast editorial expertise, Fiza ensures clarity, accuracy, and precision in every article. Passionate about language, she continually seeks to elevate the quality of content for readers worldwide.
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to askdifference.com. As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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