I've consulted many sources, but I'm still struggling to figure out the difference between these two words.

Some sources said that advance describes individual and tangible improvements, while advancement refers to the overall process of improvement. Also, the "advancement" is more used with the preposition “of” whereas "advance" is used with the preposition "in". link

Some sources said that the advance of something is the way something is advancing whereas the advancement of something is action taken to advance something. link ...

There are different versions to distinguish these 2 words, so I'm really confused about this.

  • 2
    As with most languages, there is a lot of overlap between meanings of different words. You should not expect them to all have clear differences.
    – dubious
    Commented Jun 10 at 8:41
  • @dubious I just want to know the differences between words in order to use them in the right contexts. So as you said, these 2 words are interchangeable, right?
    – Phoebe
    Commented Jun 10 at 9:30
  • 1
    It depends on the context. They are not always interchangeable. For example, "advance" can be a verb as in "advance on the enemy castle". As nouns, there are also differences. You can say "romantic advances" to mean "flirt" but "romantic advancements" would mean something different. Both words have multiple meanings, some of which overlap. This does not mean that they are interchangeable or that they always mean different things.
    – dubious
    Commented Jun 10 at 9:37
  • 1
    For example "Advances in science" and "advancements in science" mean the same thing. But "personal advance" means "a pre-payment of money that is due at a later date" and "personal advancement" means "personal improvement or progression". The point is to not take words in isolation but to view them as parts of phrases and sentences where their differences are more clear.
    – dubious
    Commented Jun 10 at 9:40
  • 1
    Advance is more common than advancement. Also advancement is more commonly used as a mass (uncountable noun) while advance is (nearly) always countable. This is why good dictionaries have usage information and examples: you should consult a good learners' dictionary like Collins COBUILD, not rely on Reddit posts.
    – Stuart F
    Commented Jun 10 at 13:08

1 Answer 1


Just a rule of thumb to make clear what the -ment abstract noun suffix does in general.

An advance is a discrete instance of progress.

The drug was being destroyed by stomach acids, so our team of scientists developed a polymeric coating that protected the medicine while it was in the stomach. That advance made it much more effective.

Advancement is progress, the idea or concept.

Advancement in science requires collaboration.

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