1

I do not understand when it is more accurate to say "to benefit from" than "to profit from". Are they interchangeable or is there precise context to employ one rather than the other?

2

These two phrases are roughly identical, but there are some important nuances.

In this instance, to profit from can have a connotation that someone or something has been exploited.

'Entrepreneurs' profited from the public's general lack of market knowledge, reselling the product they imported directly from China at triple (or more) the cost.

However, this is not always the case. The phrase is also frequently used literally (as in relating to money) and as a synonym of to benefit from.

The company profited from the market surge in the fourth quarter.

We really profited from your experience on that project!

To benefit from is most usually used without this connotation, though it can. It is also more rarely used to reference monetary gains the same way to profit from is.

The homeless people in the city benefited from the city-wide food drive.

"Are you trying to tell me that the stock traders didn't benefit from having insider knowledge?"

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  • 1
    I'm inclined to agree with you, but the dictionary does not seem to bolster your claim that "profit from" is a pejorative. See for example dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/profit-from-sth "I profited enormously from working with her." – Andrew May 8 '19 at 19:29
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    "Sharon profited immensely from all her studying." I fail to see how that is anything but wholesome. – Robusto May 8 '19 at 19:40
  • @Andrew 'Usually' does not mean 'Always', but I will concede that 'usually' may be too strong a term. I will edit the answer to better convey the ways the term can be used. – CrescentSickle May 8 '19 at 20:57

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