Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"
construct versus establish in English

Have you ever heard somebody use the word “construct” in English?

Does this seem very similar to the word “establish” when you hear it in conversation?

These two words are very similar in nature, but there are slight differences to help set them apart.

We’re going to show you what each one means and how it is typically used, so that you can start to use them in conversations that you have.

Get Your Transcripts Today!

Make sure you understand every word you hear on All Ears English.

Bring your English to the advanced level with new vocabulary and natural expressions.
Subscribe and get the transcripts delivered by email.

Learn to speak naturally with the American accent.

Click here to subscribe and save 50%

We have a voicemail question today, and this is great because we encourage voicemail questions.

Hello my name is Yahya, and I have a question for you ladies.

What’s the difference between establish and construct? I hear both, and I’m just not sure which is which. I’d love to know how to use each of these words.

Thank you!

Basic Comparisons Between The Two

These two words are very similar, so it’s understandable that there is some confusion between them.

We could get into many different usages of each, but today we will just do the basics of comparing them as verbs.

Since you may hear them used interchangeably, you want to know about the slight differences between the two.

Let’s take a look at the two words and how they can be used, you will notice the slight differences between them.

  • Construct: It means to build, but this can be in many different ways. You might first think of this as building, like actually building a house or shop or something like that. You might tend to think of this more as being done with tools or as something that you have to put together. This may be a more literal meaning to the word, as you can visualize the construction actually happening.
  • Establish: This means to begin, start, or set up. You might think of this as beginning something or working to create the foundation. This isn’t the same sort of visual word as construct. It often signifies the start of something, and that’s when you might hear it the most.

If you look in the dictionary, there are a lot of definitions that can be confusing for each of them.

That’s why today we are just focusing on the main difference between the basic idea of the definitions.

You will start to see this when you get into the examples as well.

When you can see words such as this in a real life setting or conversation, it makes it so much easier and more meaningful.

Take a look at the examples so that you can start to feel when each one is appropriate to use.

Looking At Examples of Both

When you see each word in the context of a sentence or conversation, it can help you a lot.

Seeing these two words used in the examples can hopefully help you to differentiate between them.

Here’s a breakdown with examples for each word.


“The company constructed a new bridge in the town.”

“He constructed a makeshift chair out of a cardboard box and tape.: Makeshift is a bonus word which basically means something to be used until you get something better. It essentially means to use for a brief moment or temporary in nature.

“Class please construct 5 sentences out of the following words…..”

Construct almost always is about building or putting something together.


“The restaurant was established in 1957.” This is used a lot with companies, and you will often see EST on restaurants, anniversary frames for couples, and things of that nature.

“Let’s establish some ground rules before we start the meeting.”  Ground rules is a bonus word which means basic rules or boundaries of something.

“I need to establish a weekly meeting with my clients. “

“How was it when you first established All Ears English?”

You can start to see that construct is a more visual word about building something in many cases.

While establish is more about creating the foundation of something or starting something up.

You may also hear each word associated with other similar words as they go hand in hand.

Try to use these in conversation and you will soon see just how well this works in conversation.

  • Establish: This is often associated with the word “institute.” This means to put together and it goes hand in hand with establish. You might hear “We need to institute a new office policy for sick leave.”
  • Construct: This is often associated with the word “assemble.” They can mean the same thing in the right context. You might say something like “I assembled all the desks for the office.”

So you can see how these two seem similar, but have minor differences.

Try using them in conversation and see how natural it feels to use each one at the appropriate time.


These two words can be used in different ways.

In general, you might think of establish to be about beginning something while construct is really more about building.

We can do followups on other uses of each word but this is an important start to get a good baseline.

Listen to how these are used in conversation, and then try them out yourself.

These are the types of words that can be great for adding to conversation and taking your English speaking to another level.

If you have any questions, please leave them below in the comments section.

We’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

  • Badges (1)
  • Badges-1 (1)
  • Badges-2 (1)
  • US_ListenOn_AmazonMusic_button_black_RGB_5X
  • App-Store-Button
  • google-play-badge
  • Badges (1)
  • Badges-1 (1)
  • Badges-2 (1)
  • US_ListenOn_AmazonMusic_button_black_RGB_5X