English Idioms

to make a difference

Hi everybody,

I have some difficulties to understand the real meaning of "to make a difference".

For instance :
"A video can inspire, educate, and motivate people to make a difference"

Can somebody help me ?

Thank you ,



  • Addendum,
    Of course I thank also Gwendo for his help to understand this expression.
  • Hi Cordula, Saint Johnny and Gee,

    Thanks for the lot of exemples the one more kidding than the other. I'm still thinking that it can be used for anything and give no concrete message. F.i. by giving money you can make a difference.

    Here you find some sentences where his expression is used :
    SocialVibe is a community of people who make a difference in society without affecting their bank account.

    Every day, WFP makes a difference to millions of lives howwehelphp.JPG

    A Food for Work programme shows how WFP can make a real difference to a community, in this case through an irrigation project. (this is concrete)

    X has worked in the school for years and has seen the difference a school feeding programme can make.

    For me such sentences are a little to short to give a message. Are'nt they ?

    I found that this is a general expression that can means anything, like a difference, without further specifications.

    Thank you for your comments.
  • Hi everybody,

    I have some difficulties to understand the real meaning of "to make a difference".

    For instance :
    "A video can inspire, educate, and motivate people to make a difference"

    Can somebody help me ?

    Thank you ,

  • Why should we work so hard? To train, to practice, to do the workout! Awful! Besides, are you a workoholic?
    I prefer just to live, to live like the families in the yurte in Mongolia, allways ready to leave their home and rebuild it in another place.
  • Hi you all,

    "to make a difference" is a slogan of landmark education. They wanted us to bring something new in our relationships with other people, something remarkable, unforgettable, which would inspire them, to be or to do something which would be worth the effort, worth remembering, worth living.
  • As to me if you want to be inspired, educated, motivated you should begin with the first little steps of changing your view:
    That might be to switch the shoes or the slippers, wearing the left one on the right foot..., the way you bross your teeth, the way you use the cutlery... to get sensitized for the difference you would like to bring into your life.
  • Hi there Tony!
    That's it, Tony. 'It makes a difference' can be used in scores of situations but I don't agree with you as you say 'it gives no concrete message'. Giving money for charity is quite concrete indeed. Besides you grant the difference made by the World Food Program of the UN has concrete results. Since your conclusion summarizes the issue about the generality of the expression meaning that a difference is simply the quality of being different.
    Anyway I thank you for following up the thread you started.

    May I be so bold as to add some remarks:
    1. CS (some corrections suggested)
    To you Tony: program in English makes do with only 6 letters.
    To Gee: Nights are cold in Mongolia (not THE nights are cold)

    2. About Yurtes in Mongolia:
    If nights were cold in Mongolia I couldn't dream, being frozen to death to the tips of my ears and my nose, not to mention the tips of my tits and my toes. But in yurtes people are warmly hosting travelers. Cordula is right: living in yurtes makes the difference from sleeping in ordinary hotels for tourists.

    3. a quiz: what makes the difference between a problem and its solution?
    Answer: a problem requires a solution whereas a solution gets rid of the problem.
  • You lead a blissful life, Cordula.
    As you point it out, if every people were leading a nomadic way of living, there wouldn't be any war on earth.

    Please, tell me: Which kind of dream can you make in your yurte as the nights are quite cold?

  • I read Cordula's tip and I found it was making a big difference to me (i.e. it was important to me). Make a difference! The slogan in landmark education. I would add that nowadays in some countries there are still high schools and colleges which make the difference by enlisting children exclusively from high class milieu. Even in universities, the ones of the Ivy League pretend to be the bee's knees (i.e.better than the nearby city university) and so think they are making a difference.

    But there are so many other ways to make a difference.
    For instance the model Cristina Cordula is making the difference with her 5.8 feet height and the way she is swaying her hips on the catwalk.

    The Delavigne Marketing Department also makes a difference is several ways.
    A poster is showing Rafael Nadal with his knees sparkling with the Delavigne cream Anakey, a cream made of anaconda venom and monkey spit. Nadal is saying : Thanks to Anakey I'll make a difference and will soon be back on the top.
    A page of the latest issue of The Times is showing Roger Federer close-shaven smiling as a caption is reading: Make a difference with the Delavigne aftershave.
    Another page is showing Madonna spraying her privates with Tiger Lily. Caption: That's how she makes a difference.

    Who could assert that the GymGlish is not a course with a difference? A difference made by a team of jolly fellows.

    But the best of the tips is definitely Saint Johnny's. He decribes a method to learn making a difference. First of all invert your slippers (don't start with your shoes, it's painful.) Then, as he says, brush your teeth with your bad hand holding your head upside down. Start handwriting with your left hand if you are used to writing with your right hand... and so on up until you feel able to make your holy spirit fly over Trafalgar Square riding a holly broomstick.
    Kidding apart, Johnny is right. To stop living in the flock, we have to train and practice a lot. Our workout will enable us to make all the difference.


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