Gain, Earn, Win and Get. What's the difference?

If you ate this everyday you would GAIN weight...but once and a while is ok.  YUMMY!

If you ate this everyday you would GAIN weight...but once and a while is ok. YUMMY!

What is the difference between Gain, Earn, win and get? This is a good question and requires a bit of explanation regarding the shades of meaning between the words. They are very similar so I can understand why it is hard for learners to differentiate between them.

Lets start with GAIN

Gain is when you acquire something as an increase or addition. So for example during the holidays I usually gain weight.

Could you say gain more money? No. You EARN more money. What does earn mean?

Earn means to obtain or get something in return for ones personal efforts. So if I work harder I might earn more money. If I try to be kind to people I might earn their friendship.

What about WIN? Can you win more money? You can. Imagine your win 1000€, and then the next day you win 1000€ more. You just won more money.

Win is usually associated with succeeding with a certain task or obtaining a physical prize for your efforts. It can also refer to victory.

If a soccer team beats another, they win (the other looses). If you play the lottery and you WIN, you receive the price. If you are in a competition (sports, war, games etc) and you are victorious, you win.

GET is very complicated because usually it is in a phrasal verb form, but generally speaking get means to obtain or receive. I got a new car. I get sick when I am stressed. I get mail from Canada.

Here are some more examples to try and help show you the difference:

* The father gained custody of his child after the divorce.

* After Christmas I gained 7 pounds.

* Obama gained thousands of supporters in the final days of the election.

* My watch gains six minutes a day.

* He gained my respect after the meeting.


* I earn a living by teaching English.

* I earned more money when I lived in Madrid.

* I have earned a reputation as being helpful and honest.

* I would like to earn your respect.

* ING savings account earn a large amount of interest.

* His polite manner earned the respect of my parents.


* I got some great gifts for Christmas.

* My parents get military pensions.

* I went to the doctor to get more information about allergies.

* I got the joke...but it wasn't funny (to get something: to understand something mentally).

* I won the race because I finished first.

* After spending 3 hours writing his application he won the scholarship.

* Spain beat Germany in the world cup and won the trophy.

* I scratched the playing card and won a new car.

* He won the respect of his peers after demonstrating his leadership skills during the crisis.

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Have a wonderful day everyone!

- Diana :)

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Comments for Gain, Earn, Win and Get. What's the difference?

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Jan 07, 2013
by: lola

thank u i understand it now thxxxxxxxxxxx for help :)

May 29, 2012
by: releere

The father won custody of the child after the divorce.

He earned my respect

I have gained a reputation as being helpful and honest

Oct 03, 2010
Thank for your help !
by: Anonymous


I'm Eliézer, from Brazil. I'm begginer student english. So, I have difficult to understand the diference between gain & get, and you explained more and better than I searched on the Google.

Thank you very much !


Jan 21, 2009
by: dollar

Thank you Diana. I'm learning many things from you :)
BTW, Do you speak British or American ?

This is an interesting question with an interesting answer. I speak half and half. I speak more like an American (although I am from Canada so maybe I speak Canadian). BUT my mother is British and I lived in England for 4 years when I was a child, so I do say somethings that are more British.

I like to think that I have a nice mix of both. Soon I will be putting audio on the website and you will be able to hear my voice. Then you can decide for yourself what sort of English I speak. :) I'm glad you are learning a lot here. :) -Diana

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