dispense and distribute

keung

Senior Member
Chinese
Hi all,

I have made up sentences about “dispense” and “distribute”, don’t know the different between them, please help to correct me, thank!

1.He won the prize, he then dispensed it to all his relative.
2.She distributed the contribution unwillingly in react to the critic.
3.Tom try to dispense this lucky stone to all the beggar in town.
4.Don’t you ever piss me off again, I will distribute the money to whoever I met on the street otherwise.
 
  • e2efour

    Senior Member
    UK English
    Dispense has several meanings in the dictionary and one of them is the same as distribute (to give out in portions, to share out).
    However, I don't think it's common in this meaning. One normally talks about dispensing medicine (preparing and handing out) or dispensing justice (a judge administering justice).

    1.He won the prize, he then dispensed it to all his relative.
    I would write gave. There is no distribution when all is given.
    2.She distributed the contribution unwillingly in react to the critic.
    Ok, but contribution is not the right word (could be money).
    3.Tom try to dispense this lucky stone to all the beggar in town.
    There are no portions here. I would write give or hand out.
    4.Don’t you ever piss me off again, I will distribute the money to whoever I met on the street otherwise.
    Ok (otherwise should come before I will)

    PS Don't forget your s's for plural.
    Added: 3. Tom tried to dispense this lucky stone to all the beggars in town.
    Distribute sounds better. There must be several lucky stones.


     
    Last edited:

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    1.He won the prize, he then dispensed it to all his relative.
    I would write gave. There is no distribution when all is given.
    I think there may be a misunderstanding there. The structure of the original sentence is wrong.
    He won the prize then distributed it to all (of) his relatives
    or
    He won the prize then gave it all to his relative

    As e2efour said, you could write ... then gave it all to his relatives, but distribute implies that he shared it out, rather than just handing it over to them.

     

    liliput

    Senior Member
    U.K. English
    [/FONT]2.She distributed the contribution unwillingly in react to the critic.
    Ok, but contribution is not the right word (could be money).
    I don't see why you think "contribution" is not right. If a contribution (monetary or otherwise) were made to an organization, it could then be distributed. The real error is in the last part of the sentence - it should be "in reaction to".

    Regarding the original question, as e2efour rightly says, dispense is synonymous with distribute but it is usually associated with specific contexts such as medicine.
     
    Last edited:

    e2efour

    Senior Member
    UK English
    You have to work hard to get any meaning out of contribution without any context. It might have a technical meaning but I don't think that was what was meant in the original sentence.

    I don't always correct the rest of the sentence since the moderators don't seem to like this!
     

    liliput

    Senior Member
    U.K. English
    You have to I had to work hard to get any meaning out of contribution without any context.
    I agree that context should be included (that's why it's in the forum rules) but your opinion that it's difficult to understand should be stated as your opinion and not projected on to others. I mean no offence, and perhaps I am wrong about the intended meaning, I only wish to avoid misleading other forum users. Personally, I immediately took this, without any difficulty, to mean some kind of monetary contribution to an organization but we should not make judgements about whether or not it's difficult for others.
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top