Canvas & Canvass

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Out of these words, one refers to cloth and the other to examine or investigate.

Learn this difference between these words by the most usage of these words:
Painters use a canvas (refers to a heavy woven cloth of hemp, flax or cotton) and politicians canvass (solicit votes from potential voters in an electoral campaign/get the opinions (of people) by asking specific questions).

Do keep in mind that ‘canvas’ can also be used figuratively for the floor of a boxing or wrestling ring. To be precise, it just refers to the setting of the action, the floor upon which the fight is set.

The word canvass has a number of meanings actually:
a. To collect opinions: Can you canvass the university to know whether the faculty agree with the new proposals?
b. Solicit votes from potential voters in an electoral campaign: Mr. Modi will canvass next week in North India for the upcoming elections.
c. To examine closely: Hitesh is in the habit of canvassing every shop in the vicinity before buying even a simple grocery item.
d. To ask around: The FBI will canvass the entire region to find any trace whatsoever of the terrorist.

Tool tip to remember the difference:

Just Remember: The two ‘ss’ in canvass stand for ‘solicit support’. When you canvass for something, you seek support for yourself or your ideas.

Examples of incorrect uses of Canvas and Canvass:

1. The artist splashed his dreams on the canvass before his memory could fade.
2. The theory pictured canvass views from a broad range of men.

Examples of correct uses of Canvas and Canvass:

1. She wrote words describing her feelings on the canvas.
2. He asked for a canvass opinion by inviting voters to vote for a topic.

Canvas is coarse cloth used to make tents, sailing cloth, etc.: “He likes to wear canvas shoes.”

Canvass is to survey, examine, or to investigate: “Political parties go on canvass campaigns before any election.”

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