When do I say something is difficult to do or hard to do

Or difficult to understand or hard to understand

Thus, when do I use difficult and when do I use hard?


Both terms are synonyms, they mean the same.

According to Cambridge dictionary

hard adjective (DIFFICULT)

difficult to understand, do, experience, or deal with

difficult adjective

not easy or simple; hard to do or to understand

EDITED: Take a look below to J.R's comment and to the linked entry of the dictionary. There are additional meanings of hard not shared by difficult.

hard adjective (SOLID)

hard adjective (SEVERE)

hard adjective (ALCOHOL) - A hard drink contains a high level of alcohol

hard adjective (WATER) - Hard water contains a high level of minerals

hard adjective (WEATHER) - Used to describe a time when there is bad weather

  • 2
    hard has an additional meaning not shared with difficult, i.e., being solid or firm, so I will occasionally use difficult (or some other synonym) when the meaning might be unclear. For example, if we were renovating a kitchen and trying to remove tiles, instead of saying, “This floor is hard,” I might opt for, “This floor is difficult.” But 99% of the time, the words are pretty much interchangeable. There may be times where someone would want to use a more precise synonym, though, like vexing or challenging (for a math problem), or strenuous or exhausting (for physical labor). – J.R. May 17 '18 at 10:36
  • 1
    @J.R. Good point. Made it an answer and you got my vote. :-) – RubioRic May 17 '18 at 10:38

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