Tool(s) or equipment?

Students often find these words confusing – tool(s), equipment. Well, they mean different things. Check in a dictionary the meanings of tool and equipment. Then try the gapfill!


Enter the following items into the gaps, then click 'Check your answers!'
tools, equipment, tool, Equipments, equipments

Why do we call items used in a garden ‘tools’ and those used in a kitchen, ‘ (1) ’? What is the basis of using the word ‘equipment’ and why do we call items used in a laboratory ‘ (2) ’? This is often a matter of collocation, and of context, but there are other considerations.

If your car breaks down and you do not have a screwdriver that you know can be used to fix the problem, then you might look for alternative objects that could help to open a screw, such as the pocket knife in your back pocket. Any object that helps you to perform a task is generally referred to as a (3) . When a chimpanzee uses a stick to reach banana on a high branch, he is using the stick as a (4) . And when prehistoric man used stones to light fire, he was using them as his (5) . Even before fire, man sharpened stones and used them as weapons to attack and kill animals. These sharpened stones became his (6) . It is thus clear that a (7) can be any item that helps in doing work in any situation.

What then is (8) ? Well, it is usual to refer to a collection of (9) as (10) . We can either use the plural of (11) , which is (12) , or simply refer to a collection of (13) as (14) . Therefore (15) is a set of (16) . Another differentiation is the fact that (17) are what we work with and (18) can also contain things like safety gloves, helmets, goggles, etc., that someone who is in the welding profession wears when he is using his (19) .

(20) ’ is also often used metaphorically. Take for example the use of the word ‘ (21) ’ in a news story: “The minister used diplomacy as a (22) when talking with the foreign delegate.”

In brief:

  • (23) are multi purpose, small, handy objects with which to work in a particular situation
  • (24) is a general term that is used to refer to a set of (25) .

Hopefully you noticed that equipment is uncountable – this is a common error!

2 comments on “Tool(s) or equipment?

  • Based on your previously material about little equipment I opened this. During fill and answer the gap, I think (If I’m not mistaken🤔) we do not need Equipment with E capital. It’s quiet confusing me btw in my first trial.Tq

    • mm

      Actually number 24 should read ‘Equipment’ (capital E), but this activity is focusing on the difference in meaning between ‘tool’ and ‘equipment’. It’s not a punctuation activity, so answers are not case-sensitive.


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