Pant, puff and blow or gasp??

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Please I need to know the slight difference that exists among these verbs.
I was taught that this difference has to do with effort, but there is no clear-cut difference to me.

Could you please provide me with meaningful examples where this difference is clearly expressed?

Thx in advance.
  • Benjy

    Senior Member
    English - English
    well.. off the top of my head i would say:

    panting: heavy breathing caused by exertion
    gasping is the same thing, but i think it implies a struggle for air.
    puffing puts the focus on the fact you're expelling air
    blowing has nothing to do with the above three. it just means to expel air.


    Senior Member
    United States, English
    No wonder you're confused!! I went to the dictionary, since Benjy already went from the top of his head, and apparently I can't use the dictionary for this one! (The definition of pant is 1.) to breathe rapidly in short gasps...or 2.) to give off or emit in loud puffs. :eek: ) That's not helpful!!

    I consider panting to be continuous. On a hot summer day, when the dog just sits there, breathing fast, its tongue hanging out ~ that is panting. (Um, people can pant without their tongue hanging out! :eek: :D)

    Puffing is not continuous. (We "puff on" a cigarette or a pipe, so I consider it to be intermittent.) Picture the guy at the gym, exerting himself more than he wants to let on. He labors a while, slows down and puffs a little, then labors again. (It must be a memory from a childhood book, but I keep getting a mental image of a fat man trying to climb a hill!) (No offense to any fat man who may be trying to climb a hill, of course.)

    I agree that gasping has the idea of a struggle for air. A fish out of water is gasping for air. In movies, when somebody tries to strangle someone, but they get saved in the nick of time ~ those desperate, painful breaths are "gasping for air."

    I have never heard "to blow" to show any kind of exertion. We blow out a candle ~ it is one long, forceful exhalation.

    Hope that helps!


    Senior Member
    UK - English
    I pant after a three mile run.

    Virginia Wolf gasped for air before she drowned.

    A steam train puffs.
    I'm puffing on a cigarette (which is why I pant after a three mile run!).

    The wind blows.
    When I'm skiing I blow on my hands to warm them up.

    Any help?
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