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Is there any difference between the following sentences?

  • What is the difference in meaning between those words?
  • What is the difference of meaning between those words?
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The two sentences will be understood to have the same meaning, however, the first one is the correct form.

When we want to talk about the property that is being compared between two things we use the preposition 'in'.

What is the difference in length between my this board and that board?
What is the difference in height between those two mountains?
There is a slight difference in meaning between 'shift' and 'move'.

When we want to know what the quantity of the difference is, we use the preposition 'of'.

There is a difference of 6 inches between the length of this board and the length of that board.
There is a difference of 1300 feet between the heights of those two mountains.

There is no quantity in the difference between words, so the preposition 'of' is not appropriate.

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