If you position yourself in a particular way, or if something positions you in that way, you are prepared for a situation that you want to happen or think is going to happen (Longman Dictionary)


Sometimes I see “prepare” and “position” are used together.

The purpose and benefits with TAP and TAP U! are to help institutions and individuals affordably evaluate, prove, prepare and position for employment.


We will set our research agenda and investment strategies accordingly. Disruptive change is a reality. We choose to prepare and position for it.


What is the semantic difference between “prepare” and “positon”? Take these two examples from the Longman dictionary. Are they completely interchangeable?

  1. It has been working to position itself as a seller of group health insurance to major corporations.
  2. The company’s restructuring has positioned it to compete more effectively.

2 Answers 2


Position is being used in this case in a more metaphorical sense. Normally, the position of something refers to its actual, physical location. The way position is being used in your examples should be thought of as metaphorically moving to a location where there is an advantage. One metaphor/image people might have in mind here is something like standing in just the right spot in a crowd of people walking down the sidewalk so that an important person will meet you. It is almost business jargon, except the usage is common enough that most everyone will understand it.

Prepare is more general, and is being used in its common meaning in your examples. Preparation is what is done to get ready for something. In contrast to positioning, it does not directly mean moving to an advantageous location, though that is certainly often a step in preparing for something.


Preparation is a (potentially) complex set of actions, done for allowing a specific action / activity happen in the best conditions.

Positioning is one type of preparation, and can be seen separately from the rest of the preparations.


You prepare for a new job by updating your CV and reviewing some technical stuff you need to have refreshed in your mind.

You position yourself on the job market by distributing your CV to recruiters and potential employers.

However, you can say that you prepare for a new job by updating your CV, polishing the info in your mind and by distributing the CV to companies - in which case the positioning is just a step of the preparation.

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