Find, Find Out, and Figure Out - English Vocabulary Lesson

phrasal verbs vocabulary May 02, 2021

I was cleaning out a closet and I found an old box of photos - you know, the old fashioned pictures printed on paper! And in that box, surprised to find a photo of my grandfather working in a barber shop. I found out from my mom that he worked in is father's barber shop after he finished high school. She also said that he was a smart guy and liked doing puzzles. It seems that he could figure out a crossword puzzle faster than anyone else in my family! I’m not so good at puzzles like that. It would take me a long time to figure out a crossword or sudoku.

Today, let’s look at the difference between findfind out and figure out. Keep in mind that, find is an irregular verb, so we say find, found, found. These verbs in English are similar, but have different uses. Let's check it out! 

Find means to locate something. You can find an object or a thing. You can even find a person. You can find something that you lost, or find something you are searching for. 

  • If you find a good pizza shop near the office, let me know.
  • I finally found my keys. The fell behind my desk.
  • Jane hasn’t found her credit card yet. I hope she does soon.

Find out means to discover information. Generally, we find out something by chance, in other words, we were not intentionally looking for the information. We just happened to discover it.

  • I found out that my grandfather was a barber.
  • Jane found out her husband was cheating on her when she found the evidence in his jacket pocket.
  • We found out the boss was going to quit at the staff meeting on Monday.

Figure out means to learn some information by taking action to do it. Generally, we intend to figure out something. It does not happen by chance, as in find out.

  • After working on my computer for a few hours, I finally figured out why it wasn’t working.
  • My mom can figure out a crossword puzzle very quickly.
  • The detective tried to figure out how the robber was able to bypass the museum’s security system.

Let's sum up. You can find something, either an object or a person. You can find out information by chance, and you figure out something by your intention and effort. Have you found, found out, or figured out anything recently?

You can download the pdf of this lesson here.

Add your example sentence(s) in the comments below

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