Gifts vs Presents – Secret Differences to Know

Gifts vs Presents, many of us use these two words interchangeably in most contexts. The gift is more formal than the present, meaning we use the word “Present” in our day-to-day informal life more than “Gifts”. Though these two have slight differences between them.

But gift and present are grammatically correct. Though, a gift tends to be more precious and valuable than a present. Also, you will need intimate relations to give someone a present. The gift has a vast area of usage. It means much more than just giving someone something.

The English language has many doublets which mean exactly or almost the same thing. Gifts and Presents are such doublets. They do not have the exact same meaning but almost the same. You can use one instead of the other.

Comparison between “Gifts” and “Presents”

Argument topicGiftsPresents
DistinctionIncludes anything we call to present and also includes unplanned gestures.Suggest intimate relation between the offeror and recipient, though it does not demand it.
Parts of speechVerb, Attribute nounVerb, Adjective
Area of usageGifts have a wider range of situations. It can be used as a way of giving something or being capable of doing something or having talents.Can only be given something to the recipient.
Area of originScandinavianFranch
LanguageOld NorseFrench
Origin periodPrehistoric periodAfter 1300 BC
ConnotationPractical or abstractTypically practical
ExamplesThese ice creams are gifts for the children.The dean presented them with medals.

What is a gift?

Old Norse, a North Germanic language, was used by the Scandinavian people till 1350, first introduced the word “Gift” to the English language. The word “Gift” was used in Old Norse as “Something given” or “Talent”. The literal meaning of this word is still the same in modern-day English.

Though, the culture of gift exchanging exists in the ancient world. People all over the world of different cultures and customs used to celebrate their special occasions by giving gifts to each other.

The gift is a way of expressing our feelings towards the persons as to how we feel about them, may they be our family members or friends or neighbors. Giving gifts is a beautiful act that is ingrained in our brains as a cultural phenomenon. 

Cavemen used to exchange gifts as a sign of gratitude, affection, and appreciation. Though they were more of a primitive gift. The ancient Egyptians were one of the first of many civilizations that practiced the culture of giving gifts. Later, the Greeks followed the tradition. During middle age, gifts became more and more creative. 

What is a present?

French people used the word “Present” to explain the tradition of presenting someone of close relation with some valuable things. The present is a relatively new term used after the 14th century or in the middle ages. The present is a doublet we use in the English language as it is basically what we call a gift.

“Mettre une chose en présent à quelqu’un”, an old French phrase is thought to be the origin of the word “Present”. This means “to put a thing into the presence of a person”.

Differences between “Gift” & “Present”

Gift and present are two words that are synonyms to each other. There are some but not many differences between these two.

What is meant by Gift and Present?

Gift and present are synonyms of each other. Though present only refers to giving something precious or valuable, the gift has a vast meaning.

It can be used as a term of outstanding talent that someone has. The gift was introduced to the English language by Scandinavians as “Gift” was the term mentioned in Old Norse referring to something that was given or if someone has an outstanding talent in something.

Present was the term used by the French after 1300 BC and does not have a vast area of meaning. Present only refers to the time when someone gives another a valuable gift. Later it was introduced to the English language as a doublet of gift.

The present has more prominence in terms of giving. A gift is more about the item that is given. A gift has a vast area of usage. Gifts might not be a physical item wrapped, it can be money, it can be some beautiful memory or some outstanding talents. Gifts do not necessarily be presented at an occasion. Whereas, a present is usually given on a special occasion or ceremony.

Parts of speech

The gift was genuinely an attribute noun. Later it gained a verb form in the middle age, around the 16th century which means “to endow”. The verb form of gift refers to giving someone something that has a value, either financial or other value. 

The verb form of gift has a meaningful distinction. If you said something that you would give a person something, it has some implications of thoughtful consideration. The gift is sometimes used as an attributive noun which usually means a noun used adjectivally as a modifier of another noun.

The present can be an adjective or noun or verb. If someone uses present as a noun, it simply means “gift” or something that is presented. 

Origin of “Gift” and “Present”

The word “Present” was introduced to the English language around 1300 BC and lately has been used as a synonym of gift. It was derived from the Anglo-French verb “Presenter”. It means ‘to bring or place before or into the presence of”. 

The verb “Presenter” is related to Latin “Praesentare”. “Gift” has more formal implications than “Present.” The gift was first introduced to the English language from the Old Norse language by the Scandinavians. But the culture and custom of giving gifts is an old one and exists from prehistoric time period to modern time.

More on GiftsLook

How to Make a Donation in Someone’s Name as a Gift
Adoption Gift Ideas for an Older Child
When Someone Doesn’t Appreciate Your Gift

Wrap up

Gifts vs Presents – these are two different words that are synonyms to each other. They are generally a doublet like many others in the English language. The present is more of a modern-day culture whereas gift is a cultural activity from the ancient civilization.

The gift has more formal implications than ‘present. You can use both words frequently and yes, you can use one of them instead of the other. Though, there are some minor differences between the two words, gift, and present.

These two words basically indicate the same thing. There are many doublets in the English language and each of these words has different meanings and usages. Make sure to use these two words where they need to be used.

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