You are informed of something

You come to know something

You are aware of something

Would anyone explain the difference between those? And whether or not one can use them interchangeably? If so, when?


Consider there's your colleague named Jack. One bad day, he has been sacked. In this context, I'll try to answer your questions.

You asked the differences. Here are they.

You are informed (-sense#1) of something ~ You are informed of Jack's sacking.

Either someone told you or you got this information from somewhere (maybe, an email or something for example). Point to note: You did not do any effort to know this piece of news.

You come to know something ~ You come to know that Jack has been sacked

This is quite similar to the above one but when you inform someone, it's official and when you come to know something, it could be through gossip, general talk or things the like. Point to note: You may or may not do any effort for this. This may come as your efforts, coincidence (employees were talking about it and suddenly you came) or luck. In other words, say, you enter into gossip that has been already going on and there, the topic of Jack's sacking comes (with no effort, you came to know this news) or you toss a topic of current sacking in the company and someone tells you that Jack has been sacked (you made some efforts to know who all are been sacked).

And lastly,

You are aware of something ~ You are aware of Jack's sacking

This means Jack's sacking is probably declared and well known. You know or realize this news (sense #1, sense #2 is also possible but then it'll be in a different context) and you are pretty well aware of it. In this context, being aware means the person who's talking to you is probably confirmed that Jack's sacking is not a secret to you anymore. And again, you are aware of it.

Now the second question:

No, they are not interchangeable all the time.

You cannot be aware of something unless that something is being informed to you. Check the example there: "I don't think people are really aware of just how much it costs." True, you have to inform them to make them aware.

Likewise, if you come to know something, it does not necessarily mean that someone informed you. The knowledge of that something has come to you because of your efforts, luck or coincidence.

Hope this helps.


You are informed of something.

In this case, you got information from someone or something, for example another person or a letter.

You come to know something.

In this case, you didn't know something, and now you do.

You are aware of something.

In this case, it is just something that you know.

They are not really interchangeable, though its possible in some context.

  • Thanks. Nevertheless, I cannot yet get my answer. I am willing to learn more as to my bold parts. – nima Aug 16 '14 at 18:36

Most parallel with the first two would be

"You are made aware of something.

This way they all are focused on the action of acquiring knowledge.

The difference between them then becomes a matter of how the knowledge is acquired:

"To be informed" means that you are told something.

"To come to know" encompasses a broader range of possibilities- you could come to know through observation or reflection or happenstance, as well as by being directly informed. Note though that of the three, "to come to know" focuses least on the "how" and more on the transition from not knowing to knowing. In other words, when you are informed, someone told you, when you come to know something, you didn't know something at some point and then you did, but it doesn't really specify how you came to know.

"To be made aware" is not much different than "to be informed" but it may lend itself to more easily include the idea of an agent imparting information rather than just the receiving of it.

For example I might say:

Susan was informed of the rules. Or
Susan was made aware of the rules.

In the second, my mind much more easily pictures someone explicitly making her aware. People may debate this and I certainly can see a person doing the informing as well. Perhaps is the use of made. Where it implies a level of assurance not present in "to be informed".

For example: If Susan was made aware of it, I know she knew about it. If Susan was simply given a rules book one might be able to say she was informed even if we don't know if she actually read it.

One might say she was made aware of the existence of the rule book, but not the rules themselves.

  • Thank you all so much. All you explanations are really priceless. – nima Aug 28 '14 at 5:02

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