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Employ vs. Deploy

In this Grammar.com article, let’s explore another pair of commonly confused words. While one of them is used almost exclusively for military contexts, the other is used in different ways. Read on to find out more details!

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  Ramya Shankar  —  Grammar Tips
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Employ

Employ is a verb that comes from the middle English imploy and means to give work to someone and pay for it. For example, a company employs people based on their skills. Some common synonyms of employ are hire, recruit, appoint. Examples

·         The CEO employed me after I cleared 7 rounds of interview.

·         He employs people based on projects, not for long-term.

·         Don’t employ someone who has a wrong attitude towards work.

·         The company employs about 150 people every year.

To employ (a method) can also mean to make use of it. For example

·         We have employed a new technique that can fetch better results.

·         Employing new methodologies at this stage of the project can be risky.

Employ can be used as a noun; however, employment is a more common form.

·         Employment rate has increased considerably after the implementation of new policies.

·         I work in the employ of a salesman.

Deploy

The verb deploy means to place (equipment or troops) strategically for military action. The verb derived its current form from the Latin deplicare that is ‘unfold or explain’, that is dis-, de- ‘un-’ + plicare ‘to fold’.

This definition can be used in a wider sense too. Some examples

·         For a small project like this, it is easier to plan and deploy appropriate resources.

Employ vs. Deploy

·         Our forces were deployed at different locations to confuse the enemy.

·         Why don’t you deploy the application tonight itself?

·         The deployment of men took longer than expected.

·         To deploy the device properly, an expert supervision is mandatory.

Similarities and differences

Employ and deploy are often used interchangeably (synonyms). In some cases, it is right to do so, however, in some cases, the correct word will only convey the correct meaning.

To employ means to hire someone for money whereas to deploy is to place resources that are existing.

·         We are employing more people as the existing employees have already been deployed onto different projects.

·         We want to employ our own resources for this work rather than deploying their resources.

·         The troops who were recently employed, were deployed in the easiest locations to make them comfortable.

It is okay to use them interchangeably

·         The company has employed/deployed new resources for this project.

·         We are deploying/employing new mechanisms that will help generate more power using solar energy.

·         The lawyer is famous for deploying/employing controversial arguments to win a case.

Notice that in the above cases, employ means to ‘make use of’ or utilize or bring into effective action – deploy!

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