Consider the following two sentences: (1) We should stop this project. (2) We should put a stop to this project.

Is there any difference? Do those 2 sentences imply different things? From what I understood, you can stop something habitual like stop eating chocolate, but you can only put a stop to something that’s been going for a while like a war, a talk, or someone’s behavior. I can kinda feel it if something doesn’t sound right but am not quite sure if my intuition is correct.

1 Answer 1


To 'stop' something is simply to end its further progress or motion. It can be used formally or informally.

To 'put a stop to' something is to emphatically stop it. Some, but not all, dictionaries say that it is used about stopping a bad or unwanted thing.

Mother: our son Jack is drunk and he's going to drive your car! Father: I'll put a stop to that!

My neighbour started playing heavy metal on his boom box and put a stop to my afternoon nap.

I used to enjoy playing soccer on Saturdays, but a broken leg put a stop to it.

  • 1
    You can stop doing something yourself (I stopped reading and looked up), but you can only put a stop to what someone else is doing. Dec 18, 2021 at 9:19
  • @KateBunting - or someone else or something can put a stop to something you are doing, or a plan you have. 'Put the ky-bosk' on it as Dickens made a street lad say. Dec 18, 2021 at 22:50

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