What's the difference between 'deal with' and 'cope with'? - British School Tarragona
Cambridge ESOL Exam Preparation Centre British School
Cambridge ESOL Exam Preparation Centre British School
 
 
 
 
 

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Escrito por British School el 28 de Enero de 2016 en la categoria Uso del inglés

 
 
What's the difference between 'deal with' and 'cope with'? --
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Students sometimes aren't confident about the difference in meaning and usage between deal with and cope with. While they are sometimes interchangeable, there are are some important differences.
 
Firstly, to deal with means:
 
1 - to take action to do something, especially to solve a problem (In these cases it is not possible to use cope with).
 
Nick’s parents had to deal with the mess his friends had made of the living room.
Record companies haven’t yet found a way to deal with Internet piracy.
Nina’s responsible for dealing with customer complaints.
 
2 - to accept and control a difficult emotional situation so that you can start to live a normal life again despite it (here, cope with can also be used).
 
He’s finding it hard to deal with the death of his goldfish.
She deals with stress much better than her colleagues.
 
Cope with
 
When a person copes with something, it means they deal successfully with a difficult situation (the same as in the second meaning of deal with).

Whereas in the first meaning of deal with we solve the problem or resolve a situation, in using cope with and the second meaning of deal with, we get through or manage a situation despite the problem (the problem still exists). 
 
An important difference in usage is that deal with always takes an object - we have to say deal with *something* -whereas we can use cope without an object.
 
I don’t know how he’ll cope if he loses his job.
Our goldfish died last month but we're coping quite well.


You can read the full dictionary definitions of both words by following the links at the bottom of the page.

If you have any questions or comments, we'd love to hear them!



 
 

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