Grammar Tips & Articles »

Forbid vs. Prohibit

This article is about Forbid vs. Prohibit — enjoy your reading!

1:34 min read
  Robert Haigh  —  Grammar Tips
Font size:

Forbid vs. Prohibit: Navigating Distinctions in Restriction

Understanding the differences between "forbid" and "prohibit" involves recognizing variations in language and the nuances of restriction. This article aims to clarify the distinctions between "forbid" and "prohibit," shedding light on their meanings, applications, and appropriate usage in different contexts.

Correct Usage:


"Forbid" is a verb that means to command someone not to do something, to impose a prohibition or restriction on a specific action. It conveys the idea of issuing an explicit order against a particular behavior, often with a sense of authority or parental control.


"Prohibit" is also a verb that means to formally or officially forbid something. It implies the establishment of a rule, law, or regulation that prevents or restricts a certain action. "Prohibit" is often associated with legal or institutional restrictions.

Meanings and Applications:


Use "forbid" when describing the act of commanding or ordering someone not to do a specific action. "Forbid" often carries a personal or authoritative tone, and it may be used in various contexts, including parental instructions or informal settings.


Use "prohibit" when indicating a formal or official restriction imposed by rules, laws, or regulations. "Prohibit" is commonly used in legal, institutional, or authoritative contexts to denote a broader and more systematic form of restriction.

Forbid vs. Prohibit


Correct: The teacher forbade the use of cell phones during the exam.

Correct: The law prohibits the sale of alcohol to individuals under the age of 18.

Contextual Considerations:

Consider the level of formality and the nature of the restriction when choosing between "forbid" and "prohibit." "Forbid" may be more suitable for personal or informal situations, while "prohibit" is often used in legal or institutional contexts.


Navigating the distinctions between "forbid" and "prohibit" involves understanding their roles in expressing restrictions. Whether issuing a personal command or enforcing a legal regulation, using the appropriate term enhances precision and clarity in communication.

Rate this article:

Have a discussion about this article with the community:



    Use the citation below to add this article to your bibliography:


    "Forbid vs. Prohibit." STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 28 May 2024. <>.

    Free, no signup required:

    Add to Chrome

    Check your text and writing for style, spelling and grammar problems everywhere on the web!

    Free, no signup required:

    Add to Firefox

    Check your text and writing for style, spelling and grammar problems everywhere on the web!


    Free Writing Tool:

    Grammar Checker

    Improve your grammar, vocabulary, and writing -- and it's FREE!


    Are you a grammar master?

    Identify the sentence with correct use of the past continuous tense:
    A He finished his book before the movie started.
    B She has already finished her work.
    C We will be arriving at the airport shortly.
    D They were playing tennis when it started to rain.

    Improve your writing now:

    Download Grammar eBooks

    It’s now more important than ever to develop a powerful writing style. After all, most communication takes place in reports, emails, and instant messages.