If meaning of "happen to" is by chance, how 'happen to" is different from 'end up" ? Can I replace "happen to" with "end up" in the following sentences:

  1. He happens to be very happy/ good

  2. She happens to be hungry.

  3. I happen to be a teacher.

  4. Tom happens to have a lot of money.

  5. I happened to meet Alex on the road.

  6. She happens to like her job.

My understanding is that the both phrase mean "by chance or accidently". So, I am often confused when I use the phrases as they are similar in meanings.

Although they are similar in meanings, there must be different usage of each 'end up' and 'happen to', that's what often makes me confused to use them.

  • 2
    You should edit your previous question so that it can be reopened instead of reposting it and having it get closed again.
    – ColleenV
    Jun 13, 2016 at 13:27
  • I have edited The previous question, but it's still marked as duplicate why ?
    – yubraj
    Jun 13, 2016 at 13:32
  • Obviously you didn't edit it in a way that brought it on topic, so reposting it isn't going to help. One thing you could do is ask for help editing your question on English Language Learners Meta To explain it well, we need to understand better why you don't know the answer. You might also want to look at meta.ell.stackexchange.com/a/976/9161. Also, This might help explain what it means when a question is marked a duplicate: meta.stackexchange.com/a/10844/273494.
    – ColleenV
    Jun 13, 2016 at 13:35
  • I don't know what is in your mind Yubraj, so I can't write it for you. I will help you write it in English if I can. Why do you think there might be a difference? What is your understanding of the meanings of the phrases you're asking about?
    – ColleenV
    Jun 13, 2016 at 13:56
  • Do not ask duplicate questions! That makes a mess of everything. If you edit a question, it won't automatically be reopened – you must be patient. You can also flag your question for moderator attention after it has been edited; that might be quicker. Of course, the best way to avoid getting a question closed is to provide sufficient information right from the start.
    – J.R.
    Jun 13, 2016 at 14:15

2 Answers 2


You have to somehow see end up as the end and the result of an "adventure" (figuratively speaking), whereas happen to is way more sudden and descriptive.
I will use your own sentences to illustrate this:

  1. He happens to be very happy.
    After meeting Laura and going through so much with her, he ended up very happy.

  2. She happens to be hungry.
    After running 4 miles this morning, she ended up very hungry.

  3. I happen to be a teacher.
    Even though I was impatient when I was young, I somehow ended up being a teacher.

  • Is there any differences between the meaning of 'happen to' and 'end up' when used in sentences ?
    – yubraj
    Jun 13, 2016 at 13:37
  • Again, happens to is an instant description, end up is the result of an event.
    – Azami
    Jun 13, 2016 at 13:40
  • Madward@ sir, do you mean the difference between "happen to' and "end up" is: "Happen to" is by chance or without plan and "end u" means result of sth(end up is the decision of the speaker)
    – yubraj
    Jun 13, 2016 at 20:14

I upvoted MadWard, but as your comment indicates you are still confused, let me try to say it a different way.

"Happened to" in the sense you're using it means that something occurred by chance, or due to unexplained circumstances. Like if you say, "I happened to be alone that day", you mean that there was no clear, specific reason why you were alone. It's not that you planned to be alone. It's not that your family or friends all left you alone because they were angry at you. You just are alone, for no particular reason. Or, "John and I happened to be wearing the same color shirt." It's not that we planned this. I didn't call him up and ask him what color shirt he would be wearing, etc.

Note that when I say "unexplained circumstances", that doesn't necessarily mean totally random, but just unexplained in the present context. Like if someone said, "Hey, I can help you. I happen to be an auto mechanic", he probably doesn't mean that he became an auto mechanic by chance. Rather, he means that the circumstances that led him to become an auto mechanic are not relevant to the present discussion, and you probably don't know what they are, but the fact that he is an auto mechanic is relevant. Of course, presumably every event has some cause, so nothing is totally random anyway. We just don't know the cause. (And further discussion along that line could get very philosophical.)

"Ended up" means that something was the result of many steps. "I had an argument with my wife and she decided to spend the night with her mother. So I called my friend Bob but he was still mad at me for that prank I pulled on him last week. I went to see my old girlfriend Sally but she has a new boyfriend now. And so I ended up alone." It didn't just "happen", it was the result of a series of events.

  • Jay@ sir, do you mean only the difference between "happen to' and "end up" is: "Happen to" is by chance or without plan and "end u" means because of some reason or result of sth(end up is the decision of the speaker)
    – yubraj
    Jun 13, 2016 at 20:11
  • I'm not sure if I'd say "only difference", I'm sure one could come up with other points, however fine. But main difference.
    – Jay
    Jun 13, 2016 at 21:12

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