difference between stand and withstand

Hi, coaches

I would like to know the difference between stand and withstand from tolerance point of view. Could you explain it to me?

Thanks a lot

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“Stand” just means to be able to tolerate something. “Withstand” means to be able to tolerate without damage or emotional breakdown.

“I can stand children’s screaming, but I can’t stand most rap music.” I can tolerate one and not tolerate the other, but nothing bad happens to me.

“He couldn’t stand the torture very long, and he gave the enemy the information they wanted.” He broke down.
“His liver couldn’t withstand so many years of heavy drinking, and he died.”
“The bridge couldn’t withstand the vibration very long, and it crumbled.”

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Sorry, but there is damage in both cases:

He couldn’t stand torture very long, he gave the enemy the information they wanted.Damage - he is broken psychologically and physically
His liver couldn’t withstand so many years of heavy fdrinking, and he died. Damage - his liver become useless

best regards

Hi, Remula. I didn’t take Jamie’s post to mean that “stand” could be used only where there was no damage or breakdown. It just meant that “stand” was broader than “withstand,” which is confined to damage and breakdowns.

Hi, Mordant

It seems to me that stand is more used in speaking rather than in writing, and is not as serous as withstand, but I’m not sure :frowning:


I’d say if we want some advice to help understand the meaning of a word, then personal opinions are valuable and helpful, especially the native speakers’. However, if we want to know the definition, then we have to, unfortunately, look it up with a good dictionary, which may not show us an all-embracing definition but provide the best possible one. As for “stand” and “withstand”, one of my dictionaries (American) says:

STAND: (3) To resist successfully; withstand: stand the test of time; will not stand close examination.
WITHSTAND: (2) To be successful in resisting.

Dictionaries show a smaller world with less confusion.

Remula, I would agree that “withstand” is more serious than “stand.” I would also agree that “stand” is probably more common in speech.

Haihao, although that dictionary makes the definitions appear all but interchangeable, I would suggest that this sounds awkward and overly embellished:

I cannot withstand rap music.
I cannot withstand her laugh.
I cannot withstand when people belch without excusing themselves.
I cannot withstand when people write in all caps.

“Withstand” is closer to “endure” than the broader “stand” is.

Hi, Mordant

So, we should use stand instead of withstand in the sentences mentioned above by you. Do I understand you correctly?

I have another question. How to write this sentence: what to do now? or what do now?

Thanks a lot :slight_smile:

Hi, Remula. You are correct regarding the last sentences I wrote.

Informally, the sentence is “What to do now?” Please do not use “What do now?”

In at least moderately formal situations, use a subject and the verb “to be.”

What are we to do now?
What am I to do now?

Ok, Mordant

Thanks a lot :slight_smile:

Hi, teachers

Could you explain me the difference between as to and as for?

And, what does mean this sentence? - you have got a lot going for you

Thanks a lot :slight_smile:

I see my questions are very difficult :slight_smile:

Anyway, could anybody say what is right: female students or student girls? Or may be you will offer better evrsion …

Thanks beforehand

Why nobody answers??? :frowning:

“As to” and “as for” both mean “regarding.” There is no difference in meaning, but “as for” seems to draw far fewer critics. One wonders why.

To have a lot going for you means that you have a lot of positive attributes and circumstances.

“Female students” is far, far, far better than “student girls.” “Student” is rarely used as an adjective to form compound nouns. “Student teacher” is one example, and now that I think of it, there is a great case for hyphenating it. “Girl students” is better than “student girls” but still not as good as “female students.” “Girl” is not a true adjective, either.


Sorry for bothering

Remula, it is a pleasure.

It also seems that “to stand” would mostly refer to people:

I can’t stand this sentence.

But “to withstand” could be used more readily with inanimate objects:

The bridge couldn’t withstand the heavy traffic.


That is true. Also, where the person is a direct object, “stand” would be far more common and sensible.

I often met withstand refering to human: A person can’t withstand such a disaster …

Many thanks, Mordant and Phil :slight_smile:

Remula, “withstand” is very common with people. TutorPhil merely pointed out that “stand” occurs more often when a person is the subject. I pointed out that the object of withstand is rarely a person. In your sentence, the person is the subject.