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“Adapt” vs. “Adopt”: How to Choose the Right Word

Updated on June 10, 2024Commonly Confused Words

What is the difference between adapt and adopt?

The words adapt and adopt are often confused, but they have distinct meanings and uses. Adapt means to make something suitable for a new use or purpose, typically by modifying it. For example, you might adapt a novel into a screenplay. On the other hand, adopt means to take up or start to use or follow something, such as adopting a new policy. Knowing when to use adapt vs. adopt can make your writing clearer and more precise.

When to use adapt

Use adapt when you need to describe adjusting something to fit a new situation or condition.

Example: She had to adapt her teaching methods to accommodate the new technology.

When to use adopt

Use adopt when you mean to take something as your own or start using it.

Example: The company decided to adopt a new marketing strategy.

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How do you use adapt in a sentence?

Adapt is used to indicate modifications or changes made to suit new conditions or purposes.

Examples of adapt in a sentence

  • She had to adapt quickly to the new environment.
  • The film was adapted from a best-selling novel.
  • We must adapt our plans to the changing circumstances.

How do you use adopt in a sentence?

Adopt is used to describe the action of taking something up, such as a practice, method, or policy.

Examples of adopt in a sentence

  • They decided to adopt the new software across all departments.
  • The couple plans to adopt a child next year.
  • Our company will adopt a more environmentally friendly approach.

Adapt vs. adopt: Definition, parts of speech, and pronunciation


  • Verb: To make something suitable for a new use or purpose; modify. Example: He adapted the recipe for a vegan diet.
  • Pronunciation: /əˈdæpt/


  • Verb: To take up or start to use or follow something. Example: The council decided to adopt the new regulation.
  • Pronunciation: /əˈdɒpt/

Adapt vs. adopt in a nutshell

Understanding the difference between adapt and adopt is crucial for precise communication. Adapt refers to modifying something to suit a new purpose, while adopt means taking up something as your own. By learning when to use each term correctly, you can enhance the clarity and effectiveness of your writing. For more insights into commonly confused words and to understand what are homophones, consider using Grammarly to perfect your writing.

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