Difference between give away, give way, give out, and give in

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= give something for free

  • If you don’t wear those clothes anymore, you should give them away.
  • The radio station is giving away two tickets to a rock concert.

= reveal a secret, or expose hidden knowledge (especially details of a book/movie)

  • I don’t want to tell you too much about the movie because I don’t want to give away the ending.


= when a physical structure collapses under too much weight.

  • When I tried to cross the old wooden bridge, the boards gave way and I fell into the river.

It can also mean withdrawing/yielding/retreating, to go away and open space for something else:

  • This weekend, the clouds will give way to sunshine.
  • The opposition to the law gave way to overwhelming popular support.


= distribute

  • The teacher gave out the worksheets on Friday.
  • The store is giving out coupons for 10% off.

In some situations you could use either “give away” or “give out” – ex) The store is giving away / giving out samples of the product. The difference is that give away puts more emphasis on the “free” aspect, and give out puts more emphasis on distribution to many people.

In a few specific cases (especially with machines and internal organs), give out can mean to fail / stop functioning:

  • He was an old man, and his heart eventually gave out.
  • We were stranded in the middle of the lake when the motor of our boat gave out.


= to yield to social pressure – someone tries to convince you for a long time, and finally you accept it / agree to do it

  • The kids asked their mother for ice cream over and over, and she finally gave in.
  • If your friends pressure you to try drugs, don’t give in.

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Difference between give away, give way, give out, and give in Espresso English

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