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The NBC News headlines says...

Most Say U.S. Is Prepared for Possible Ebola Outbreak, Poll Shows

Now, this raises question in my mind whether...

"I'm ready for something" is equal to "I'm prepared for something".

Suppose I am putting my all money into a new business in a recession and someone warns me about the consequences, do these replies of mine mean the same?

"Don't worry, I'm ready for any consequences"

And...

"Don't worry, I'm prepared for any consequences"

My understanding: The word prepare has a **little* flair of unwillingness i.e. we are quite optimistic about the consequences but we are pretty sure that it won't happen. On the other hand, the word ready itself denotes some negation and we are not optimistic. That said, I'm ready for any consequences as I know that there are fair chances to happen that.

In other words, if I'm ready for the loss in business, I'm okay if the loss actually happens. I accept it. But if I'm prepared for the loss means I have certainly arranged some other sources of income. In short, if someone is ready, he simply accepts the thing but if someone is prepared he has the alternative way to come out of the situation.

Am I right?

Kindly enlighten me.

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You're reading too much into the context around the words. While we may often speak of preparing for the worst, the words aren't inherently about negative consequences and situations.

The word prepare has a little flair of unwillingness ... On the other hand, the word ready itself denotes some negation and we are not optimistic.

Neither word carries any sense of negativity or unwillingness. We need not prepare only for bad things. For example, I have spent the last week preparing for my vacation and now I'm ready to leave. My vacation isn't "bad" and I'm definitely not unwilling to take it.

In short, if someone is ready, he simply accepts the thing but if someone is prepared he has the alternative way to come out of the situation.

No, this isn't the difference between the two words, because you've missed the appropriate meanings. As above, prepare and ready aren't about dealing with unwanted or unpleasant situations, so your remarks here don't apply.

While the gross meanings of prepared and ready are the same, there is a fine difference between the two. Specifically, one of time and expectations: ready is much more immediate than prepared, and we use it when talking about something expected to occur very soon. If we are prepared, we have gotten ready in advance, or even though something is unlikely to happen.

For example, in the linked article, it talks of being prepared for an Ebola outbreak in the US because one is extremely unlikely. Or examine my vacation example from earlier: I say I'm ready shortly before I leave, but speak of preparing during the time leading up to it.

Suppose I am putting my all money into a new business in a recession and someone warns me about the consequences, do these replies of mine mean the same?

"Don't worry, I'm ready for any consequences"

And...

"Don't worry, I'm prepared for any consequences"

These two are largely the same here. Prepared is more formal, but ready suggests a greater confidence (e.g. the common expression ready for anything) when talking about a hypothetical event. This is because of the subtext of immediacy with ready; even though you're just as prepared regardless of which word you use, if you say ready, people will hear even if this happened right now, I'm prepared to deal with it. When making the same comment with prepared, that right now isn't implied nearly as strongly.

The immediacy of ready over prepared is the reason for the differences that Lucian points out.

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Roughly, I’m ready and I’m prepared convey the same meaning and can be used interchangeable in most of the cases.

Yet there is a slight difference between them:

Generally to be ready may not need too much preparation. Are you ready to go? Are you ready to eat? Are you ready to leave? etc. are very common. It would be very unusual to hear: Are you prepared to eat?

As for the flair of unwillingness and the optimistic attitude towards the probability of not happening some consequences when you are prepared, there’s no such an implication. Nor does the word ready denote any negation and lack of optimism.

  • There can be a hint of unwillingness in use of "prepared", in the sense of not really wanting to do something, but not refusing to do it. I'm prepared to eat meat if the vegetarian curry isn't ready on time. I'm prepared to resign if I don't get a raise. – nnnnnn May 14 '16 at 6:00
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Generally, to be 'ready' for something and to be 'prepared' for something is to be in the same state of being. Saying "I am ready to answer this question" is equally as valid as saying "I am prepared to answer this question".

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I think being ready talks more of your present state of mind, while prepare has a prefix "pre" which entails doing something before now. That is arranging or making arrangements before time.

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