encourage vs motivate

Discussion in 'Spanish-English Vocabulary / Vocabulario Español-Inglés' started by Yuukan, Jul 2, 2008.

  1. Yuukan Senior Member


    I want to say in english: "Ellos me motivaron a participar en el estudio de los idiomas"

    my try:
    They motivated me to engage in the study of languages
    They encouraged me to engage in the study of languages

    Can I use either motivate or encourage? is also correct the verb to study or I should use ...in the studying ....

  2. AE4AZ Senior Member

    Both your attempts sound good to me. "To motivate" is a little more forceful than "to encourage."
  3. L'Stevo Junior Member

    Bogotá, Colombia
    English - USA
    Yes, both motivate and encourage are correct.

    To my ears, encourage seems more like they suggested or pushed you to study; on the other hand, while motivate could mean exactly the same, it could also mean that you were motivated just by watching their actions or being inspired by something they did, and that they did not necessarily ever even say anything to you.

    As for your second question, you could use either:
    ... to engage in the study of languages.
    ... to engage in studying languages.

    The first is better, although people say the second too.
  4. jinti

    jinti Senior Member

    They motivated me = they made me want to do it
    They encouraged me = they tried to get me to do it

    They motivated/encouraged me to study languages.
  5. Yuukan Senior Member

    Thanks !!!

    I really appreciate your help!
  6. la zarzamora

    la zarzamora Senior Member

    buenos aires
    So you are saying just the opposite that l'stevo is saying. And you are both natives, this is strange.
    By the way, lstevo is correct.
  7. AE4AZ Senior Member

    Sorry, I just imagined, based on my own experiences in the Army, that "to motivate," used transitively, suggests the use of stronger outward measures - even threats - than "to encourage" with positive suggestions. I may be wrong.
  8. Greengecko Senior Member

    I think one big difference between "encourage" and "motivate" is that encouragement comes from another person, while motivation can be that and is also something a person feels internally when they see something that inspires them to take action. Examples:

    John encouraged David to exercise and lose weight.

    David was motivated to exercise when he saw John get in shape.
  9. Yuukan Senior Member

    Thanks greengecko

    now I see the difference, thanks

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