|famous adjective – known about by many people|
|Vincent Van Gogh is a famous artist from Holland. (Many people know who Vincent Van Gogh is.)|
|popular adjective – liked or enjoyed by a large number of people|
|Prince is a hugely popular singer. (A lot of people like Prince and enjoy his music.)|
In this post, I’ll explain the subtle difference, with lots of helpful examples that. Watch the video at the end of this post so you can listen to and repeat these examples. This kind of practice will improve all of your English communication skills.
AND you can try the simple quiz at the end of the post to test your understanding of these 2 words with some news headlines.
You’re hearing all points of English grammar in natural use, and it’s being absorbed by your brain, even if you don’t realize it.
Both words are adjectives. Adjectives are used to describe nouns. (Remember, a noun is a person, place, or thing)
The definitions and many of the examples used here came from:
Famous – definition
famous adjective – known about by many people
Vincent Van Gogh is a famous artist from Holland.
(Many people know who Vincent Van Gogh is.)
One day I’ll be rich and famous!
(In the future I’ll have money and be well known.)
The Plaza is a famous hotel in New York where celebrities and the wealthy stay when they visit the Big Apple.
*The Big Apple is a nickname for New York City. (It got the nickname from horse racing in the 1920s. A “Big Apple” meant a big money prize you would get after winning a race at one of the large racetracks that were around New York City at the time.)
Vocabulary wealthy adjective – having a lot of money, possessions, etc.
Denmark is a wealthy nation that gives lots of aid to developing countries.
They live in a wealthy part of Chicago.
*The adjective wealthy becomes a noun when it follows the article THE. Learn more about using adjectives as nouns here: How to use adjectives as nouns (A helpful guide + video)
Popular – definition
popular adjective – liked or enjoyed by a large number of people
Prince is a hugely popular singer.
(A lot of people like Prince and enjoy his music.)
Skiing has become very popular recently.
(Lately, many people enjoy skiing.)
These polka dot acrylic nails are one of our most popular designs.
(Many people buy and wear these nails.)
~ Of course some things are both well known and well-liked, so we can use both adjectives to describe them. I think that’s why these words are sometimes confused.
Here’s a simple example of a band that is both famous and popular:
The Beatles are a famous British band from the 1960s whose music is still popular around the world.
*Did you know that the word pop in pop music comes from popular? It’s true!
This is also true for the phrase pop culture. (This is sometimes called popular culture.)
Now let’s add everyone’s favorite English Grammar topic. PREPOSITIONS!
|famous for something (The reason a person or thing is famous)|
|Elon Musk is famous for his electric car company Tesla.|
|popular with someone (Certain people or a group of people like something)|
|This restaurant is popular with European tourists.|
Adjective + preposition
famous for something
Author J.K Rowling became internationally famous for her Harry Potter novels.
The reason she is famous is because she wrote the (very popular) Harry Potter novels.
The beautiful beaches are one of the reasons the Maldives is famous.
Adjective + preposition
popular with someone
In Thailand, kickboxing is becoming more popular with women.
Many women in Thailand are becoming interested in kickboxing.
I’m not very popular with my parents at the moment. (= they are not happy with me)
Try this example:
“Tokyo Disneyland is a famous family theme park, but Tokyo Disney Sea is more popular with couples and adults. Probably because you can drink beer there!”
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Famous and Popular – Word variations
unpopular adjective not liked or enjoyed by a person, a group or people in general (This is the opposite of popular – You probably guessed that.)
“The president raised taxes. This was an unpopular thing to do.”
infamous adjective well known for being bad or evil
“This general is infamous for his brutality.”
The adjective famous comes from adding the suffix -ous to the noun fame. Learn more words that use the adjectives that use the suffix -ous here: English suffix -OUS (Increase your vocabulary with VIDEO)
Famous or Popular – News Headline QUIZ
Video link just below the quiz!
External quiz link – https://goo.gl/forms/WnJpkD1KbxBiN12X2
Famous or Popular VIDEO