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Word Difference

Differences between “happen” and “occur”.

Posted: March 31, 2019 at 1:04 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

It is an interesting question. There are some differences between “happen” and “occur”.

Happen can be used in the following contexts;

  • rough time or place
  • Informal context
  • accidental or unplanned events

Happen is closely associated with blind chance, which can’t be anticipated.

For instance:

  • The accident happened at 9:30 p.m.
  • I happen to know him.
  • Something, nothing, anything, much, little, a few things, an odd thing etc. happened.

But as soon as the subject has the slightest semblance of definition, “happen” is changed to “occur” or “take place”.

We use Occur in the following contexts;

  • expecte events, like dates
  • discoveries, ideas
  • formal conversations

The word “occur” conveys the sense of “”coming into existence as a process or an event. Like:

  • It occurred to me that I was on the wrong path.

Both the words are often followed by the prepositions “at” and “in” the sentence. Like;

  • The sun eclipse occurred at 6 p.m.
  • It happened in the evening


It is incorrect to talk of prearranged events “occurring” or “happening”.

  • The wedding took place in the afternoon.( not occurred or happened)
  • The party took place in the evening.
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