A tool is a thing that helps a person repair or build something. There are many different types of tools.

  • A screwdriver is a tool. It’s used for inserting and removing screws.
  • A hammer is a tool that’s used for hitting and removing nails.
  • A wrench is a tool used for turning nuts and bolts.
  • You can keep all of your tools in a toolbox.
man carrying toolbox

The difference between a tool and a machine is that a tool is usually hand-held and is powered by the strength of the person who uses it. A machine can be automated to produce a repetitive motion, and machines are usually powered by fuel or a battery.

Recently, the word "tool" has become a type of metaphor (comparison) used when referring to an organized effort to accomplish something:

  • A website can be a tool for improving the efficiency of a company.
  • The public school system can be a tool for addressing specific problems in society.
  • A cell phone can be used as a tool for communicating specific information.

Note: I think the use of the word "tool" as a metaphor is a fad that needs to go away. Some people are so quick to use "tool" to describe just about anything, it has outlived its usefulness. Nowadays, most people I know just roll their eyes when they are sitting in a meeting and hear some new innovation or program described as "a tool."

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April 22, 2019