What’s the Difference Between a Gift and a Present?

What the Difference Between a Gift and Present?

Difference Between a Gift and a Present

The words “gift” and “present” are often used interchangeably. However, there is a subtle difference between the two words. 

A gift is something that is given without expecting anything in return. 

A present is a gift that is given in order to celebrate a special occasion or to show appreciation for something.



For example, you might give your friend a gift card to their favorite store as a way of saying thank you for being a good friend, with no expectation of receiving anything in return. 

This would be a gift.

However, if you gave your boss a gift card to the same store as a way of asking for a raise, you would be giving them the gift card with the expectation of getting something in return (in this case, more money).

This would be a present.


Origins of the words

The word “gift” comes from the Old English word “gift,” which means “give”.

The word “present” comes from the Latin word “praesentare” which means “to show”

Conclusion: Gift vs Present?

The difference between a gift and a present is very subtle. 

To summarize it in one sentence:

When giving, if you are expecting something in return technically it is a present, if you are not then it is a gift. 


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