Institute or Institution?

Discussion in 'English Only' started by kkhassan, Nov 19, 2004.

  1. kkhassan New Member

    Bangladesh and Bangla
    I would like to know if there is any difference in meaning of the words 'Institution' and 'Institute'. Thanks in anticipation.

  2. Artrella Banned

    institution (BUILDING) noun [C] esp. disapproving
    a building where large numbers of people, esp. the old, the mentally ill or children without parents live in order to be officially taken care of
    He has a horror of ending his life in an institution.

    Institute (ORGANIZATION)
    noun [C]
    an organization which exists so that its members can do a particular, esp. educational or social, type of work, or the buildings which it uses
    The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is also known as MIT

    Saludos, Art :)
  3. Alpha0ne

    Alpha0ne Senior Member

    England English/Spanish
    Hi kkhassan,
    As always, Artrella hit the nail right on the head. I agree with both her definitions.
    Regards, :)
  4. VenusEnvy

    VenusEnvy Senior Member

    Maryland, USA
    English, United States
    I was given a topic about which to write an essay for a scholarship. I have a question for you all about their usage of the word "institute". Here's the topic I was given:

    What do you hope to achieve by attending an institute of higher learning?

    So, in my essay, I refer to attending an "institute". I had asked someone to look over it, and they mentioned to me, "Shouldn't it be institution? Institute makes me think of like a mental institute...." Then, I began to think twice.

    What would you all say? Institute, or institution?.....
  5. elroy

    elroy Sharp-heeled Mod

    Chicago, IL
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    I would say "institution" as well. But if they say "institute" in the question...
  6. Le Pamplemousse

    Le Pamplemousse Senior Member

    USA, English
    I would say that they are interchangeable. They both mean "something instituted". There are other institutes besides a mental institute, like a research institute.

    Personally, I would use "Institute of Higher Learning" before "Institution of Higher Learning", but that might just be because I think it sounds better.
  7. elroy

    elroy Sharp-heeled Mod

    Chicago, IL
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
  8. sus4

    sus4 Senior Member

    Japan - Japanese
    According to Merriam-Webster online dictionary, the word institute is "an educational institution and especially one devoted to technical fields."

    e.g. Massachusetts Institute of Technology; California Insitute of Technology
  9. HK ESL learner Member

    Hong Kong Cantonese
    Are there any differences between 'institute' and 'institutions'? I looked them up in the Cambridge Dictionaries Online, and I found that both of them mean 'organization'.

    Which of the following sentences is correct?
    'I taught Chinese in different schools and institutes.'
    'I taugth Chinese in different schools and institutions.'

    HK ESL learner
  10. bibliolept

    bibliolept Senior Member

    Northern California
    AE, Español
    There's no practical difference. "Institutes" is the more common choice in the educational context, so tradition and frequency of use would suggest that this word is more appropriate here.
  11. suma Senior Member

    English, USA
    I agree with bibliolept.
    Use institutions if you also taught Chinese at non-school settings, like at government agencies, branches of military institutions, prisons, medical facilities, etc.
  12. panjandrum

    panjandrum Occasional Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    A variant BE voice coming in late (though it's probably the AE version that is of interest).
    There are lots of academical institutions here, and relatively few institutes.
  13. elirlandes

    elirlandes Senior Member

    Dublin & Málaga
    Ireland English
    I think that this is pretty accurate. For me, "institution" is a word used in the general case - it is a generic word.
    In the particular, a specific place of learning or sharing of information based on certain specific topics which are neither schools, nor colleges nor universities in the formal sense of the word, could term themselves "institute" as self definition.

    The Dublin Institute of Technology is an institution dedicated to providing technical education.

    The Irish Management Institute is an institution set up to provide training in business management.

    Trinity College Dublin is one of Ireland's foremost educational institutions.

    Note: the word institution can also be used figuratively to denote anything that has been long founded and commands respect, whether related to education or not.

    The monarchy in the United Kingdom is one of the country's most recognised institutions.

    Both make sense in English, although the speaker probably means "institutes" as this is more comparable to a "school".
  14. panjandrum

    panjandrum Occasional Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
  15. Pedro y La Torre Senior Member

    Paris, France
    English (Ireland)
    I think so Panj, "academical institutions" aren't much known down here.

    Elirlandés pretty much said everything else I wanted to.
  16. sdgraham

    sdgraham Senior Member

    Oregon, USA
    USA English
    I believe that the real answer lies in that which the organization chooses as its name.

    See, for example:

    The Smithsonian Institution.(Not "institute," which is a common error.)
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2010
  17. elirlandes

    elirlandes Senior Member

    Dublin & Málaga
    Ireland English
    I would suggest that this usage is less usual nowadays, and that these 3 Institutions gained their names in times when the modern differenciation was not made.
    I bet if they were founded today, they would call themselves "Institutes"...
  18. natkretep

    natkretep Moderato con anima (English Only)

    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    I think my sense of the words are like elirlande's and panj's, with institution as a general word (therefore, 'institution of higher learning'), and institute to refer to a kind of technical college. This seems to almost reverse the definitions given by Artrella (#2).

    There are, however, in my part of the world, (secondary) schools that call themselves institutions - I attended St John's Institution, a Christian Brothers school. There are others like St Joseph's Institution, St Michael's Institution and Raffles Institution (the last one is of course not a Christian Brothers school). I accept that this is a little unusual, and in some other places in the world (eg Hong Kong or Australia), they would go by the name College instead, but here there is a kind of prohibition to having secondary schools called Colleges).

    For HK ESL learner's question:

    I would choose 'institutes', because I think the terms are meant to be contrastive: I'd interpret school to mean secondary schools and institutes to mean places where young people can pick up a trade.
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2010
  19. mathman Senior Member

    near boston
    English-American/New England
    A difficulty that I think has not yet been mentioned is that in AE, an "institute" can also refer to a short-term course given for a particular audience. For instance, the College Board, which develops and gives the SAT tests, also runs "AP institutes" during the summer to prepare high school teachers who will be teaching Advanced Placement (AP) courses the next year (these are courses that are supposed to be equivalent to college courses, but are given in high schools). These institutes are usually one week in length and are given at various, um, institutions.

    So if you said "schools and institutes," it might be misinterpreted as one of these short-term (a week to a month in length) courses, rather than an academic "school or institution" (which would correspond to a physically existing educational enterprise). So I would go with the latter, if that is in fact where you taught, say, Chinese.
  20. Gabbi

    Gabbi Senior Member

    Co. Galway
    Looking at the conundrum from a different perspective: from which is one "institutionalized" - an institute or an institution?
  21. Pedro y La Torre Senior Member

    Paris, France
    English (Ireland)
    An institution surely?

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