Prohibit and forbid: what’s the difference?

Prohibit and forbid: the same meaning, but . . .

prohibit forbid difference

Prohibit and forbid have the same meaning, but we use them differently.

prohibit + from

forbid + to


  • Children are forbidden to chew gum at school.
  • The dissident was forbidden to leave China.
  • Prisoners are prohibited from smoking in their cells.
  • The restaurant is prohibited from selling or serving alcoholic beverages to customers for one month.

From + -ing

Don’t forget that from is a preposition, so a verb directly following it must be in the –ing form:

  • from doing, from having, from going, etc.

Quick tip

We often say that something is forbidden or prohibited:

  • talking during exams is forbidden
  • smoking is prohibited.

The advantage of using this form is that you don’t need to worry about from and to.

Stuart is an English teacher and runs the Speakspeak website. He currently lives in Prague and has been teaching for over 20 years. Follow Stuart and contact him by subscribing to his monthly newsletter.

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