Difference between "be engaged in" and "engage in"

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ivarmada

Member
Korean
Hello.

I have a question about whether there is any difference in the meaning betwenn "be engaged in" and "engage in". In the following two sentences that I searched by google search, it looks like "be engaged in" and "engage in" can be used interchageablly without difference. Is my understanding correct? If not, what is the difference between two of them? Please advice.
  • During the next few years he was engaged in the hotel business in Beethoven Hall, on Fifth street, New York, and it was through this experience that he became familiar with the business which has become his chief life work.
  • After leaving the farm he attended Capital city Commercial College at Des Moines, Iowa, and graduated in the year 1890. He then engaged in the implement business in Newton, Iowa, and in 1893 in the manufacturing business.
Thank you in advance for all of your help.
 
  • ivarmada

    Member
    Korean
    Berly. Thanks a lot for your quick response. But could you be more specific please? Your advice is indeed insightful but sounds a bit abstract to me, so I am not able to recognized the difference of meaning well enough. Thus your futher help would be appreciated.
     

    Beryl from Northallerton

    Senior Member
    British English
    Ok.

    Let's put it another way.


    To "engage in" an activity is to start said activity. Once you have "engaged in" an activity, you can be said to "be engaged in" that activity until you stop.


    I hope this helps.
     

    ivarmada

    Member
    Korean
    Beryl.

    Thank you so much for your explanation. Now it is very clear. So the passive form of "be engaged" is used in the first sentence because it describes somebody's business circumstances throughout a period of time(i.e during the next few years), whereas the active form of "engaged" is used in the second sentence because it relates to somebody's business action at a certain point in time (i.e then).
     
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