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Adapt vs Adopt


  • ‘Adapt’ (verb) means ‘make suitable for/adjusted to a new use or condition’.
  • ‘Adopt’ (verb) means ’take something as one’s own; accept or follow’.

What’s the difference between ‘adapt’ and ‘adopt’?

Because they differ in just one letter, it is easy to misspell and confuse these words. But they have very different meanings, and also different patterns of use.

  • ‘Adapt’ can be used on its own or followed by the preposition ‘to’ (e.g. adapt to a new environment).
  • ‘Adopt’ is always used with a complement (e.g. adopt a policy).

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How they’re used

Example sentences with ‘adapt’

  • We outline strategies to adapt to climate change.
  • Phytoplankton adapt to various ocean environments.

Example sentences with ‘adopt’

  • This study explores teachers’ decisions to adopt new technologies.
  • The authors adopt a new conceptual framework.