They are similar in meanings and they may be interchangeable? Because they both mean the body that exists for long-term or short term tasks or purposes, formed with professional or non-professional people. It is hard for users to decide which one to be used in a particular context.

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    You posted this question and I answered it two days ago
    – Ringo
    Oct 27, 2017 at 4:00
  • I didn't realize that these two sites are related and that you are a regular visitors of both sites. And I wanted to know about the answer from dfferent points of view. The first one is from Chinese language point and the other or current one is from English language point. Oct 27, 2017 at 13:41
  • Hi, that question you posted is on this exact same site: English Language Learners StackExchange. But yes, I was wondering why there was so much (or any) Chinese in your question. But I figured I had enough information about the question, so just answered it anyway.
    – Ringo
    Oct 27, 2017 at 15:45
  • @Ringo Oh, it is a big mistake, that one containing Chinese words should have been posted in the Chinese language site, could the admin move it there? I am very sorry to cause such troubles. Oct 28, 2017 at 1:17

1 Answer 1


Insofar as we're only talking about the definition of each word that refers to some group of people and not other potential definitions, yes, they're mostly interchangeable.

Both words tend to suggest some political context but don't necessarily require it.

One slight different shade in meaning is that commissions are often – though not always – set up for some specific task and then disbanded after they've served their purpose. That's why, of the three different varieties of the group-of-people definition Merriam-Webster lists for "committee," the first is

a group of persons directed to perform some duty.

M-W's example sentence for that meaning is a pretty good one to illustrate this idea (emphasis mine):

The state set up a commission to study the proposed merger of the school districts.

Whereas the state might have a standing committee on, say, school finance or K–12 education, which would be responsible for reviewing legislation and policy under its purview whenever necessary, the state may, by contrast, form a temporary commission for considering the proposed school district merger, and then that commission would disband after giving its recommendation on whether or not the merger should happen.

But again, these are just tendencies. Where I live, the political leadership of the city is called the city commission, not the city committee, even though they are a standing body for all political matters, not a specially assembled group for one particular purpose.

I think the best practical advice I can give is to try to find out if, in the particular context you're discussing, there already exists some preference for either "committee" or "commission" and, if not, just pick one.

  • Your explanation is very clear and your advice is very practical, thanks. Oct 28, 2017 at 1:19

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