distribute vs allocate

Ben pan

Senior Member
chinese
I do not know how to distribute my time to different tasks. (self-made)
It seems to me "distribute" is about giving resources to different people. So it is not good to say distribute one's time. I did not find the expressions like "distribute my time" through Google. If I can use "allocate" in the above-mentioned context, then can anyone teach me about the difference between "distribute" and "allocate"?
 
  • Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    If I'm dealing out playing cards, I distribute them. That is, I give the same number to each player without paying attention to what the cards are.

    If I'm giving money to several charities, I allocate it. I make a careful choice of which charities and how much I give to each.
     

    Ben pan

    Senior Member
    chinese
    Your post is very helpful. But I still have some doubts. What about in the context of distribution of social resources? Many people might assume
    that the distribution of resources must be related to, if not based on or completely decided by deserts.
    Can I understand their difference in this way: distribution might involve careful selection, but most probably it is conducted through a just system, a public institution which is based on some rule?
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    I've reconsidered my first reply. I think that allocation is the process of deciding how to divide up resources, distribution is actually giving them out.
    I am much happier with this definition and I completely agree. Though I like the card imagery quite a bit.
     
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