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jammed/packed

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Vladislav, Mar 14, 2007.

  1. Vladislav Senior Member

    Barcelona, Spain
    Russian,Spanish
    Hello, everybody. Could anybody explain me whether there's some difference between "packed" and "jammed". And to "pack" and to "jam".

    I'm referring to the context where there are a lot of cars/people/etc together and they hardly fit together.
     
  2. river Senior Member

    U.S. English
    To pack is to put something tightly into a container. To jam is to force something into a container.
     
  3. Vladislav Senior Member

    Barcelona, Spain
    Russian,Spanish
    I still, don't see the difference,

    the building is packed with people
    the building is jammed with people

    Here, for example, what would be the difference?
     
  4. verity17 Senior Member

    Norwich, England
    UK, English
    I sometimes say "jam packed" when something is very full or crowded etc.
    They mean the same thing, as far as I'm aware.
     
  5. Vladislav Senior Member

    Barcelona, Spain
    Russian,Spanish
    isn't it "jam-packed"
     
  6. verity17 Senior Member

    Norwich, England
    UK, English
    I don't know, I never write it.
    It probably is hyphenated though, now I think about it.
     
  7. Vladislav Senior Member

    Barcelona, Spain
    Russian,Spanish
    Ok, thank you both.
     
  8. tottallyoff

    tottallyoff Senior Member

    London
    russian
    I would argue that packed could be used as, say, when something is full of something but it fits. When something is jam-packed, it does not have any spare room, just like a jam in a jar. They are very close. You could say 'the bus was packed', meaning it was full. you could say that the 'bus was jam-packed' which would mean that it was full, but also means that 'people were standing on each other's heads to fit there'. I dont know if thats more confusing....
     
  9. Vladislav Senior Member

    Barcelona, Spain
    Russian,Spanish
    And if I say "the bus is jammed" (without "packed"), would it be correct?
     
  10. tottallyoff

    tottallyoff Senior Member

    London
    russian
    Not sure. I would use packed but not jammed. Can anyone correct me on this?
     
  11. panjandrum

    panjandrum PongoMod

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    The bus was packed.
    The bus was completely full.

    The bus was jammed.
    The bus could not move because of traffic or because it was physically stuck somewhere.

    The bus was jam-packed.
    The bus was not only full, but there were passengers standing in the aisle, crawling into the luggage-racks, hanging out the windows. Like totallyoff, I exaggerate to make the point.
     
  12. tottallyoff

    tottallyoff Senior Member

    London
    russian
    HAHAHAHA.... :)
     
  13. Vladislav Senior Member

    Barcelona, Spain
    Russian,Spanish
    Haha, thanks a lot.
     
  14. alisonp Senior Member

    London
    English - UK
    You couldn't say the second one :). A doorway could be jammed with people, i.e. their bodies are blocking it, but not a building. For a building to be jammed, you'd be implying that it was actually trying to move, but couldn't because of all the people around it.
     
  15. tottallyoff

    tottallyoff Senior Member

    London
    russian
    The club was jammed last night.
     
  16. alisonp Senior Member

    London
    English - UK
    Never heard that usage.
     
  17. Vladislav Senior Member

    Barcelona, Spain
    Russian,Spanish
    Haha, I'm now trying to imagine it ... :eek:

    Thank you very much people. :) You've given me the idea of the difference between these words. Now I just have to pay attention when I hear them on TV or somwhere else.
     

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