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As you know, the verb "assemble" means: "to make something by joining separate parts together"; also the phrasal verb "put together" means: "to put the parts of something in the correct places and join them to each other".

I need to know if they both can work in the same sense in the following sentence or not:

  • He helped his son to ............. his new model airplane.

a) put together
b) assemble

I think both of the options "a" and "b" work naturally in the sentence above without any change in meaning.

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    Yes they do. I don't see any problems with both verbs. – Kaique May 15 at 13:26
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As the other answer says, in the examples they are identical.

Note you can separate:

  • He helped his son to put his new model airplane together.

But if it's not about a machine or something which is clearly made of pieces, there are cases where you can't use assemble. In this case, most usually separated, put together means put next to each other:

  • He put the tables together to make more space
  • He put the German speakers together at the dinner table to make them more comfortable
  • He put together a marvelous salad from leftovers

If you assemble tables it means make them from a kit (eg Ikea). You can assemble [people] but here it means call a larger group together. Assemble sounds unusual for food.

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    I might use "assemble" for a salad, particularly if I was stressing the complexity. I would use "We assembled a team of experts to solve the problem" – David Siegel May 15 at 13:54
  • @DavidSiegel yes I think you're right, I've changed odd to unusual for salad. Endives, chevre chaud, green pepporcorn vinaigrette, walnuts, composée! – jonathanjo May 15 at 13:59
  • Thank you @jonathanjo; but what about a car engine or a PC case? Do they mean the same when you're going to assemble/put together separated parts/pieces of a PC (e.g. motherboard,DVD drive, CPU, VGA etc.)? (The same goes for an automobile engine). – A-friend May 15 at 14:13
  • I'd use assemble for a computer, car engine or pretty much any kind of machinery. – jonathanjo May 15 at 14:16
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Yes, both of those are perfectly natural in the sentence, and there is no significant meaning change. "Assemble" is slightly more formal. In a technical discussion of, say the inventions of Henry Ford, I would expect to see "assemble" rather than "put together". But I can't think of a context where one would be acceptable and the other wrong, nor ojne where the meaning would be very different.

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