The difference between apprehension and comprehension
There is a great deal of difference between “apprehension” and “comprehension”. The two are completely different words in the English language. If you use a dictionary to find the meanings of the two words you will see where the use of the words in a sentence may be confusing. Comprehension is defined as the perfect understanding of something, such as a piece of text or a concept. Apprehension has four meanings:
- A sense of nervousness of fear about something in the future
- An idea formed by observation
- An arrest of a criminal
- An ability to understand
It is the fourth definition that causes confusion.
In the following sentence “He had apprehension about the meaning of the statement” the word apprehension means that he did have the ability to understand what a statement meant. If you use the word comprehension in the same sentence “He had comprehension of the meaning of the statement” it means that he did understand what the statement meant. In the sentence using apprehension, it did not say that he fully understood the meaning, just that he had the ability to comprehend it. In this case apprehension refers to the process of understanding or comprehension. The word “understanding” in itself is complex and refers to what a person knows already and the way a person’s mind acts in the process of comprehending new material.
There are two different mental processes at work in apprehension and comprehension. In apprehension, a person has the ability to understand something, but this ability is dependent on something concrete. For example, if you go outside in the winter without a coat, you will get cold. Therefore you learn not to go out in the cold without first putting on a coat.
You do not need prior experience in order to comprehend something, so comprehension involves a different process. Comprehension refers to understanding through the way in which you interpret concepts and symbols at the present time. It is the complete process of understanding something in which you perceive, interpret and process the knowledge. Students in school demonstrate comprehension by reading a paragraph and answering question about it.
According to the definition of comprehension from a linguist point of view, it means understanding and making a decision. A linguist defines apprehension as understanding as hesitating. Thus, in comprehension you understand and decide, but in apprehension, you understand and then stop to think about what you should do. Comprehension leads to discussion, but apprehension leads to imagination.
There is no doubt connected with comprehension, but there is with apprehension.