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Experience or experiment?

We use experience as a verb when something happens to us, or we feel it. It is rather formal:

I experienced a feeling of deep sadness as I entered the refugee camp.

Customers have experienced problems in finding parking places at the mall.

Warning:

We don’t use live instead of experience:

How children behave when they grow up depends on what they experience during early childhood.

Not: … what they live during early childhood.

Experiment as a verb means ‘try something in order to discover what it is like or to find out more about it’:

Scientists have experimented with liquids and gels in which plants can grow artificially.

I wish the government would stop experimenting with new teaching methods for our kids every couple of years.

Warning:

We don’t use experiment when we are talking about feelings or things which happen:

She suddenly experienced a sensation of homesickness.

Not: … experimented a sensation

The company’s Asia branch experienced a sharp drop in profits in 2007.

Not: … experimented a sharp drop

(“Experience or experiment ?” from English Grammar Today © Cambridge University Press. Need grammar practice? Try English Grammar Today with Workbook.)

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