Stephen and Ashlie both dance their way through the carnival, but will they be able to find each other in their costumes?


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Hi Sir!
Could you tell me what are the differences between a carnival and a festival, costumes and dresses or outfits?

Hello Akbar Safi,

Please look up these words in the dictionary. Then, if the differences between them are still not clear, you are welcome to ask us specific questions -- explain to use what you understand or don't understand so that we can provide you more useful answers.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi Sir!
In simple words, carnival is a celebration in which people come out to the streets, wearing some unusual dresses, they dance and eat food etc. It's not a religious activity. While 'festival' is based on some religious beliefs and observed on a special day like we Muslims celebrate two festivals in a year i.e. the one after the holy month 'Ramadan' and the other is 'Eidul Azha' in which animals are sacrificed.
'costumes' are typical of a country like the ones we Pashtoon wear and 'dresses' I think may be any dress or clothes in combinations. While 'outfits' are the clothes wear for a particular occasion or activity. A little bit confuse here for the outfit, not sure about it.

Hi Akbar Safi,

Festivals can be religious in origin but they can also be based on other traditions. A carnival is a particular type of festival which involves parades, costumes, music and dancing.

'Dress' can be very general. We can talk about 'fancy dress', 'dress sense', 'a dress code' and so on. It's not used usuallt to talk about specific clothing. However, the same word is also used to describe a particular type of women's clothing.

Outfit describes a set of clothes (not just one item) for a particular occasion. For example, you might complement a guest on their 'lovely outfit' at a wedding. It's not a particularly common word.

A costume is a set of clothes which are intended to make a person look like a particular thing. Circus performers wear costumes, as do super heroes and actors in the theatre.


When you are trying to understand the differences between words like this definitions are a good starting point but not all you need. The differences are based in use and convention and cannot be fully expressed as rules or limitations of meaning. In order to grasp these distinctions you need to see (hear) the words in context, not just think about definitions. It is how the words are used which is key, not the dictionary definition.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you so much Sir!

To avoid losing my friend at a big event, we take a cellphone, I think it's the most convenient.
I expect to see costumes of flowers, animals, insects like butterflies or spiders. It depends on the topic of the carnival.

One more convenient method is to communicate through mobile phones, either calling or sending the exact location through different mobile apps like find me application.
Because of an enormous diversity of cultures in London, I expect to see lots of costumes that reflect the merge of habits for all people living there.

The street party is so great!!! I want to take part in and dance ^-^.

Hi teacher,
I have a question to you. Ashlie said: " So how long will we be dancing for?"
why is the future continuous tense ?
İs it correct to say " So how long will we dance for? " ?

Hi nguyenminh2501,

Both forms are possible here, but there is a difference in emphasis. If you use will dance then you are treating it as one act; if you use will be dancing then you are thinking about an activity which is spread over time and may be comprised of many short individual dances with breaks between them. The difference is largely one of emphasis and is a question of speaker choice, but I would say that the second option is more likely in most cases.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team