allot vs allocate

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Eric001, Apr 19, 2010.

  1. Eric001 Senior Member

    Beijing
    Chinese-Beijing
    Hi, everyone
    I saw much information about the difference between allocate and assign. But what about allot? What is the difference between allot and allocate?

    Thank you!
     
  2. panjandrum

    panjandrum PongoMod

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    That's a difficult question.
    Allocate is used more often than allot - would that do as a difference :)
    I feel that things that are allocated are more pleasant than things that are allotted. That could be because I seem to associate "allot" with "task".
     
  3. jpyvr Senior Member

    Fortaleza, Ceará, Brazil
    English - Canadian
    According to a couple of dictionary sources (since the question stumped me), there is a difference in these two words.

    "Allocate" means to set aside for a specific purpose, to fix the place of, to locate. "Allot" means to divide or distribute by share, to appropriate for a specific purpose, to set apart or dedicate.

    Very close, but to me the difference is in this sentence. "The Parks Council has allocated 10 hectares of XXX Park for community gardens. The garden was divided into 10 plots which were each allotted to a specific local charity."
     
  4. Eric001 Senior Member

    Beijing
    Chinese-Beijing
    Thank you, panjandrum and jpyvr, everything you say here does make a big difference because it helps english learners understand how native speaker feel about the words. From your words, I feel that allot means more about give by a body or person authoritatively while allocate means more about give according to certain rules or through certain procedures, but allocate is used more often.
     
  5. wandle

    wandle Senior Member

    London
    English - British
    Not exactly.
    The basic idea of 'allot' is to share something out (divide it) among a number of people.
    'The charity allotted funds to a number of deserving cases.'

    The basic idea of 'allocate' is to put something in its proper place.
    'The manager allocated a different task to each member of the team.'
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2012
  6. Sun14

    Sun14 Senior Member

    Hong Kong
    Chinese
    In #2, panjandrum said:
    I feel that things that are allocated are more pleasant than things that are allotted. That could be because I seem to associate "allot" with "task".

    I am kind of confused by allot in relation to task. Could you give me some advice?
     
  7. wandle

    wandle Senior Member

    London
    English - British
    I can only come back to the basic ideas of the two words.
    'Allocate' basically means placing something appropriately.
    'Allot' basically means giving someone a share of something.

    If a manager is allocating a different task to each member of the team, then he or she will give each member a task suited to hs or her abilities.
    This corresponds to the idea of appropriateness. Each person should do the kind of work expected in accordance with their talents, qualifications, etc.

    If a charity is allotting money from its funds to various causes, then the money comes as a free gift to the recipient. The charity is free to choose which cause receives money and how much. The idea of 'sharing out' is more applicable here.

    Distinctions of this kind are fairly subtle and the difference they make results in a good or less good style of writing, rather than a categorical error.
     
  8. Sun14

    Sun14 Senior Member

    Hong Kong
    Chinese
    I see, Thank you.
     

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