jammed/packed

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Vladislav

Senior Member
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.
 
  • 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.
     

    tottallyoff

    Senior Member
    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....
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    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.
     

    alisonp

    Senior Member
    English - UK
    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?
    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.
     

    tottallyoff

    Senior Member
    russian
    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.
    The club was jammed last night.
     

    Vladislav

    Senior Member
    Russian,Spanish
    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.
    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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