Occur or happen?

apneo

Member
french - France
Hi,

What is the difference betwwen occur and happen?

"Nothing will prevent it from happening" or "Nothing will prevent it from occuring".

Which one is correct?

Thanks
 
  • PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    In your example, it is essential to know what "it" is.

    A: "I have many weeds in my garden, how can I stop them from occurring?" :tick:
    A(i): "I have many weeds in my garden, how can I stop them from happening?" :cross:

    B: "When he sees you with the gun, it will occur to him that you killed John.":tick:
    B(i): "When he sees you with the gun, it will happen to him that you killed John.":cross:

    C: "It is almost impossible for an accident to occur.":tick:
    C(i): "It is almost impossible for an accident to happen.":tick:
     

    Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    What is the difference between occur and happen?
    "Nothing will prevent it from happening." or "Nothing will prevent it from occurring."
    I agree with Paul: context is needed. What do you mean by "it"?
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    Occur is more formal than happen when they are synonyms.

    Happen is often, but not always, used for events; occur is often, but not always, used for things and people,

    "Nothing will prevent the spread of the plague from happening"
    or
    "Nothing will prevent a plague from occurring".
     
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