Distinguishing Offset, Compensate, Make Up For, Refund, Reimburse is not easy. Even in the VNU/TOEIC test in particular and in English communication in general. With quite similar meanings, related to compensation, compensation or refund of money, things, …

However, these words have different usage in different situations. Read this article to distinguish Offset, Compensate, Make Up For, Refund, Reimburse when using!


Vocabulary Phonetic Semantic Example offset (v) /ˈɒfset/ Offset, offset – use of a fee, payment to cancel or reduce the impact of another cost. Viewing: What is Compensate 1. The price of this vest has risen in order to offset the increased cost of attached luxury pearls. (The price of this vest went up to offset the increased cost of the luxurious pearls attached to it.) 2. In rural areas, the extra cost of traveling to work is offset by the lower price of houses. (In rural areas, the increased cost of commuting to work is offset by lower house prices.

He’s taking extra lessons to make up for the time he missed


1. Refund: Used when someone gives me money, then I return the money to them. Usually because they give too much, or when they are not satisfied with the product or service purchased. Therefore: Refund is completely different from the group of words offset, compensate and make up for in essence. Refund is considered a synonym for reimbursement, but the nature of “refund” is different (content below). .2. Reimburse: When a person gives money to another person or loses it, then we make up for that money to them. Therefore: Reimburse, similar to refund, is completely different from the group of words offset, compensate and make up for in essence.

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Reimburse is different in the context of use compared to refund.

3. Offset: Is compensation, to compensate for the impact of a cost or other circumstance. Offset focuses on equivalence, the balance between the two sides so as not to be disadvantaged. Therefore:

Offset is distinct from the words refund and reimbursement. Offset has a more specific context of use than compensate or make up for. Accordingly, offset emphasizes the compensation due to another circumstance or cost that adversely affects the subject so that they see justice. Meanwhile, compensation and make-up focus on compensating factors to compensate for loss and damage. This offset may not be as balanced as the offset.

4. Make up for: The opposite of offset, it emphasizes contrast. For example, taking the good to make up for the bad that happened; or similar to an apology, using some way to atone for the mistake made. Therefore:

Make up for is different from the pair of refund and refund. As analyzed in section 3 (offset), make up for is the opposite of offset.

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5. Compensate is similar to Make up for but it emphasizes using money to pay, to compensate for damage, error or a loss.

Through this article, we see that it’s easy to distinguish Offset, Compensate, Make Up For, Refund, Reimburse, right! Hope the article will help you in applying words in daily life, as well as in exam questions.

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Wish you all good study!

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