Avoid means to stay away from something while preventing means to stop something from happening. In general, though, avoid is used more often when referring to things we don’t want to do while prevent is used more when referring to things we don’t want to happen. Put in another way Avoidance is about steering clear of something altogether, while prevention is about taking steps to reduce the likelihood of something happening.
When to use each word
Avoid is typically used when referring to future actions, while prevent is used when referring to past or present actions. For example, you might say “I’m going to avoid eating too much sugar” or “I’m preventing myself from eating too much sugar.”
There’s also a difference in meaning between the two words. Avoid suggests that you’re trying to stay away from something, while prevent suggests that you’re taking action to stop something from happening. So, if you’re trying to stop yourself from getting sick, you might say “I’m preventing myself from getting sick” rather than “I’m avoiding getting sick.”
Finally, keep in mind that avoid is a transitive verb, which means it takes an object, while prevent is intransitive. This means that you can’t say “I’m preventing” – you need to add a direct object after the verb, such as “I’m preventing myself from getting sick.”
Examples of each word in a sentence
When you avoid something, you’re purposely staying away from it. You might avoid a person because you don’t like them, or avoid a place because it’s dangerous.
Prevent means to stop something from happening. You can prevent an accident by wearing a seatbelt, or preventing a cold by washing your hands regularly.
However, both words can be used interchangeably in many situations. For example, you can say “I’m going to avoid sweets today” or “I’m going to prevent myself from eating sweets today.”