The expressions below can be associated with rights

  1. be entitled to
  2. be empowered to
  3. be allowed to
  4. be authorized to
  5. be permitted to

and the expressions below can be associated with responsibilities

  1. have a duty to
  2. be obliged to
  3. be committed to
  4. be required to
  5. be held accountable to

The question is if the ten expressions shuffled how can I determine which ones are responsibilities and which ones are rights.

P.S. It was a test and I am unable to find a logical way to do that.

  • This seems like more of a question about philosophy and ideology than about English, and so not really on topic. But whatever.
    – Jay
    Sep 5, 2013 at 20:15

2 Answers 2


A responsibility is something you have to do or (at least) ought to do.

A right is something you are allowed to do or permitted to do. You have no obligation to exercise your right.

All of the verbs in the first group have a sense of "permission", all of those in the second group have a sense of obligation.


These are some examples that can help you distinguish between rights and responsibilities :

1) As an Indian citizen , you will be entitled to the freedom of speech. 2) Every citizen is empowered to file a complain against violation of rules and regulations. 3) Children are allowed to play in the garden. 4) Youngsters above the age of 18 are permitted to drive vehicle. 5) Every employee is authorized to get its salary on time.

Responsibilities : 1) Employees have a duty to keep certain matters confidential. 2) Police inspectors are obliged to protect citizens from crime. 3) You should be committed to what you do in order to get success. 4) School children are required to be in proper uniform. 5) Cashiers are held accountable for any mistakes in the account book.

Rights are those which citizens can use as per will. Responsibilities are given to any individual keeping in mind its ability to perform and they are must to be performed with sincerity.

Rights can be converted into responsibility but responsibility cannot be converted to rights. Rights are for all but responsibilities are for only those who can fulfill them properly.

  • 1
    I mostly agree, but I'd quibble that a right isn't necessary "given by government". Philosophically, here in the U.S. we fought a revolution over the principle that rights are NOT given by government, but are given by God, and if the government does not recognize those God-given rights than the government is not legitimate! From a less ideological viewpoint, you could talk about a parent granting rights to a child, or about the rights that a contract or other agreement gives you, without any reference to government.
    – Jay
    Sep 5, 2013 at 20:13
  • I have edited the answer :)
    – Sweet72
    Sep 5, 2013 at 20:17

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .