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While I was reading my assignment, I wandered that the difference of meaning between the word 'Conserve' and 'Save' because, in Korean, the meanings of the words are same. I want to know that.

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Conserve - Conserve usually applies to things that are endangered or low in number

We must conserve our resources.

Save - Save can be used in rescue situations plus for things you want to collect. It also behaves like conserve but usually to bigger "objects."

I saved him from drowning.

I saved up some money.

We must save our ecosystems.

Note we don't usually say:

We must conserve our ecosystems

because ecosystems are larger objects that contain resources.

  • I agree with most of your answer, but I don't think it would be at all strange or unusual to use the term "conserve our ecosystems". – Paul LeBeau Mar 6 '16 at 9:17
  • I guess so. I think "protect our ecosystems" is the best way and maybe most common. – Aziz Mar 6 '16 at 21:28
  • Couldn't conserve also mean "keep in existing state" or "use wisely"? – legowave440 Mar 7 '16 at 2:23
  • Yes, those options definitely capture the idea of conserving. – Aziz Mar 7 '16 at 2:25
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Save has a couple different meanings, one of which is similar to conserve.

Let's save the water we have.

Let's conserve the water we have.

Save can also mean "to rescue", "to tell a computer to commit X to persistent storage", in addition "to set aside/put away/reserve for later use." Conserve won't have either of the first two meanings.

If the thing being saved/conserved is a single object that is consumed all at once, or money, then save is typically the appropriate term. If you have a bunch of X and are trying to use as few as possible to make sure you have more X for later, conserve describes it, but so does save.

Conserve can also mean "over the long term, to take care of for future use or generations," e.g. we must conserve the environment for future generations.

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