Class vs. Lesson

Class vs. Lesson

“The lesson is that you can still make mistakes and be forgiven.”

Robert Downey, Jr., an American actor and singer

Class and lesson are among the most frequently used words in English. So, we can often hear something like “Mary took guitar lessons” or “I go to dance classes”. Are the words  interchangeable? Let’s find out…

1.  (countable noun) a group of students who have lessons together: They are in the same class at school.1. (countable noun; mainly British English) a period of time in which students are taught sth. (= class): The best way to improve your game is to take lessons.
2.  (countable noun; mainly American English) a period of time in which students are taught sth. (= lesson): My first class starts at experience that teaches you how to behave better in a similar situation in the future: My parents made me pay back all the money, and it was a lesson I never forgot.
3. (countable noun; mainly American English)  a course: I took classes in pottery.
Note that class is less formal than course.
4. (countable, usually singular noun) all of the college or school students of a particular year: These members of Yale’s Class of ’78 never miss a reunion.

Phrases & Idioms

  • in class = during a lesson: There is a lot of reading in class.
  • to cut class/school – to skip a school class or a day of school without an excuse: As a joke, one day all the students cut their math class and went to lunch.
  • gut class/course (informal) – a college or university course requiring little work or intellectual ability: I needed a gut class, something to fill in my schedule.
  • to teach sb. a lesson – sb. or sth. that teaches you a lesson improves your future behavior by making you experience the bad effects of your actions: Having my bike stolen taught me a lesson – I’ll never leave it unlocked again.
  • to learn one’s/a lesson – to suffer a bad experience and know not to do it again: There is an important lesson we have learned from the crisis.
Just 5 minutes till the end of the class…

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