Worth It vs Worthy, What’s the Difference?

“Worthy” is usually used to describe people that are valuable and “worth it” is used to describe objects and experiences. These words are also two different word types, and therefore cannot be used interchangeably.

Read on to learn the meaning of the two words and when the appropriate time to use each would be.

Etymology of Worth

Historical data shows the word “worth” being used as early as the 1200s. The etymology defines “worth” as an Old English word of Germanic origin. The adjective was first used in the 13th century while the noun form of the word was first recognized in the 14th century.

What does “Worthy” Mean?

The Cambridge English Dictionary defines “worthy” as deserving respect, admiration, or support. The word “worthy” traditionally asks if someone or something is good or not good enough. Some examples of usage for the adjective include

They bestowed upon him an honor of which he was not worthy.
Her kind spirit was worthy of attention.
The man didn’t feel he was worthy of a raise.

What does “Worth It” Mean?

While the word “worth” in “worth it” is a derivative of “worthy”, the words cannot be used interchangeably. Used with the conjoining “it”, “worth” becomes a preposition or a word that governs another in the English language.

Some examples of using the phrase “worth it” include

The dinner was sixty dollars but she didn’t think it was worth it.
He thought it was worth it to ride the bus instead of fly.
Do you think the high price tag at the fair is worth it?

Which Word Should I Use?

When determining which word variation to use, think about what the word is describing. In most instances, the word “worthy” will be used in sentences that describe people. “Worth it”, on the other hand, usually refers to an object or thing and something with value.

A simple trick that can help you in determining which word to use is to say it out loud in a sentence. If the proper word or phrase is used, the sentence will flow off the tongue easily and effortlessly.

If the incorrect word is used, however, the sentence will sound fractured and odd.

Synonyms of Worthy

While the phrase “worth it” doesn’t have any synonyms, “worthy” has several. A synonym is a word that means or infers the same as another word. Synonyms of worthy include

  • Admirable
  • Desirable
  • Deserving
  • Excellent