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 tool. When a chimpanzee uses a stick to reach a banana on a high branch, he is using the stick as a tool. And when prehistoric man used stones to light fire, he was using them as his tools. Even before fire, man sharpened stones and used them as weapons to attack and kill animals. These sharpened stones became his tools. It is thus clear that a tool can be any item that helps in doing work in any situation.
What then is equipment? Well, it is usual to refer to a collection of tools as equipment. We can either use the plural of tool, which is tools, or simply refer to a collection of tools as equipment. Therefore equipment is a set of tools. Another differentiation is the fact that tools are what we work with and equipment can also contain things like safety gloves, helmets, goggles, etc., that someone who is in the welding profession wears when he is using his tools.
‘Tool’ is also often used metaphorically. Take for example the use of the word ‘tool’ in a news story, for example “The minister used diplomacy as a tool when talking with the foreign delegate.”
Hopefully you noticed that equipment is uncountable – this is a common error made by Indonesians!
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