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Administer vs. Administrate

Updated Jan 23, 2023

What are the differences between administer and administrate?

Administrate is a verb, meaning to manage or direct a business, organization, or institution. Administrate can also mean to handle the administrative tasks of a business. For example:

"The CEO administrated the company's finances."

"The school board members administrated the school's budget."

Administer is a verb, meaning to manage the execution of a plan or to provide medical care. Administer can also mean to distribute a substance, such as a drug or vaccine. For example:

"The nurse administered the flu shot to the patient."

"The administrator administered the staff survey."

Why do people commonly confuse administer and administrate?

People commonly confuse administer and administrate because they are similar sounding words with similar meanings. Both words mean to manage or oversee a group or organization. The subtle difference between the two words is that administer refers to the act of implementing or carrying out a policy, while administrate refers to the act of creating the policy. This small distinction can be difficult to distinguish and often leads to confusion.

What are some ways to make sure you don't confuse administer and administrate?

  1. Remember that administer is usually used as a verb, while administrate is usually used as a noun.

  2. Look up the definitions of both words to make sure you are using the correct one in your sentence.

  3. Pay attention to the context of the sentence and think about which word would make more sense.

  4. Use synonyms or alternative words to replace either administer or administrate if you are having trouble keeping them straight.

  5. Practice using the words in a variety of sentences to get a better understanding of how they are used.

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