Collaborate or cooperate?

By Marina Pantcheva

The verbs collaborate and cooperate can often be used interchangeably. However, there is a subtle meaning difference between the two.

collaborate= 1. to work together with somebody in order to achieve a single shared goal.

The musicians of the orchestra collaborated to create an unforgettable performance.
Wikipedists collaborate to create the world’s largest encyclopedia.

collaborate= 2. to help the enemy who has taken control of your country during a war.

Quisling collaborated with the nazis.

cooperate=1. to work with other people by achieving one’s own goals as part of a common goal.

Facebook users cooperate to create the world’s largest social network.

cooperate=2. to be helpful by doing what somebody asks you to do.

During the dentist examination, the child cooperated formidably and kept her mouth wide open.

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