Negligence Is Not Negligible

Neglect and negligence are both nouns, but there is a difference in meaning.  Neglect is an action that shows lack of duty or attention:

  • The animal died due to the owner’s neglect.

Negligence is an action or habit that means a failure to exercise the carefulness expected in a situation:

  • The accident was caused by the driver’s negligence.

Neglect is often deliberate and negligence involuntary. A person is neglectful if he’s careless and forgetful (whether purposely or not). He would be negligent if he’s habitually careless or unconcerned when he shouldn’t be, and the result of such negligence is sometimes an accident.

Another word that is related is negligible, which simply means insignificant or of little consequence:

  • The damage to my car was negligible.

It may seem negligible to you to learn the difference between neglect and negligence, but I wouldn’t want you to be negligent about learning the distinction.

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