If you’ve ever had a case of writer’s block from choosing between two very similar words in your writing, you’re not alone. English contains many words which are differentiated more by their conventional usage than by their definition. Inequality and inequity are two such words. They both refer to a difference in the amount or quantity of something. While many use them interchangeably, there are differences between the two.
In this article, I’ll explain the difference between inequality and inequity. I’ll use each word in a sentence, and reveal a mnemonic that can help you remember how to correctly differentiate between these two words.
Inequality as noun:
Inequity as noun:
Inequality or inequity:
Inequality and inequity are oftentimes used in similar contexts, but they have different meanings. Inequality refers to an imbalance or lack of equality. This is a quantitative measure. If you’re writing about math, inequality is the only correct choice. If you remember that math problems usually contain equal signs, and that equality contains the word equal, it will be easier to choose which word to use in the context of a math problem. Inequity refers to an instance of injustice or unfairness. This is a qualitative measure. These words overlap in usage quite often, but your writing will be improved by employing them carefully. If you are still wondering how to keep track of inequity vs. inequality, think of this sentence as a mnemonic.
Inequities lead to inequalities.