The word "associate" is a verb you can use to describe relationships among people or things. The long "a" vowel sound at the end of the word indicates that this is a verb.

The word "associate" is a noun. The short "i" sound at the end of the word indicates that this is a noun. (Both words are spelled the same way.) An associate is a person with whom we work or someone we know.

The first set of sentences and questions provide examples of how this word is used as a verb:

  • How are you associated with Tom? (Under what circumstances do you know him?
  • She no longer associates with Vanessa. (She isn’t maintaining the friendship.)
  • We often associate power with corruption. (There’s a connection between the two things.)
  • Are you associated with the company? (Do you have a connection to the company?)
  • Smoking is not now associated with any kind of health benefits, but not too long ago some doctors actually believed in its therapeutic effects.

In this next set of examples, the word "associate" is a noun:

  • Bill is an associate of mine. We work together occasionally.
  • I’ll talk to my associates and see what they think about this idea. (associates = coworkers)
  • The manager called all the associates together for a meeting. (associate = workers; retail workers)

The word "association" is a noun that is used to describe a group of people who meet for a common cause.

  • The National Association of English Teachers (NAET) held its annual meeting in Chicago this year.
  • She belongs to an association that helps people recover from drug addiction.
  • Teresa ended her association with the group after it was discovered that they had ties to organized crime.

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July 18, 2013