I've heard many people say that

I am going to study tonight for tomorrow's test

Is the usage of 'study' in that sentence correct? If so, why? Would the usage of revise be better in that sentence?

I have done a little of definition finding as came out with this:

Study: Application of the mind to the acquisition of knowledge, as by reading, investigation, or reflection

Revise: To review (previously studied materials) in preparation for an examination.




  • 1
    Well, realistically, most people doesn't start reading their notes until the night of the test, so they're actually studying instead of revising. Jun 18, 2015 at 3:59
  • 3
    By your linked definitions of revise, your definition seems to be BrE usage. I would not use it as such in AmE, where its changing or amending something.
    – user3169
    Jun 18, 2015 at 4:47
  • @user3169 what do you mean by BrE and AmE? Can you expand it if it is an abbreviation?
    – CipherBot
    Jun 18, 2015 at 9:38
  • British English vs American English - Revise is BrE, study is AmE - hence the current confusion in this thread ;) Jun 18, 2015 at 9:38
  • So, what I have summed up so far is that revise is more commonly accepted in BrE whereas in AmE, study is more commonly used in the sample sentence above. Am I right?
    – CipherBot
    Jun 18, 2015 at 9:59

1 Answer 1


User3169 brings up a good point. The only meaning of revise in the US is

to alter something already written or printed, in order to make corrections, improve, or update:

I have actually never heard the British meaning before today!

Cultural language differences aside, I don't think that you could say

I am going to revise tonight for tomorrow's test

Study in the first sentence is being used as an intransitive verb which means that there is no direct object. You could use it as a transitive verb, and say "I am going to study the textbooks tonight..."

Now, I don't speak British English, so I might be wrong, but to me revise sounds like it should be a transitive verb. So you should instead say

I am going to revise the textbooks tonight for tomorrow's test.

However, if someone who does speak British English disagrees, let me know.

  • 1
    In the UK, you study all year - you only revise what you already studied, just before the test/exam. Your sentence "I am going to revise tonight for tomorrow's test" would be perfectly acceptable & easily understood in BrE. Jun 18, 2015 at 9:34
  • In a UK school, during exam season, "What are you doing tonight?" "Revising" or "Revision." would be a very common exchange, needing no further explanation other than perhaps what [educational] subject it refers to. Jun 18, 2015 at 9:36

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