An English speaker’s perspective

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Alambre / Cable

» by in: Nouns

While buying wire today I asked for alambre at the electrical store. The man showed me a board with several pieces of wire tied to it and asked me to pick out the size and type I wanted. I choose a 12 gauge stranded wire. He told me that it was cable and not alambre.

Alambre is a single wire, whereas cable is stranded. In English (or at least where I have grown up) the word wire could be used for both. Cable was reserved for larger gauge wire and often when it is not being used to conduct electricity but has other purposes. Usually such other purposes include strapping something down or pulling a heavy object, like the cable on a crane.

Alambre is a single wire. The way to think of it is a metal coat hanger, if stretched out, would be an alambre. Inalámbrica is wireless.

Cable has strands of wires bundled together. The type that is often used in home wiring.

  • 1

    This lesson is great, I don’t know that I’ve ever seen anyone talk about the differences between the two words and I do think it is good to know them.
    Thank you.
    Great Job on the site by the way.

    Open English on November 14th, 2007
  • 2

    Thank you for stopping by. I appreciate your comment and look forward to your sharing any other thoughts on words that we post.

    David on November 14th, 2007
  • 3

    […] the electrician who did the original wiring was able to trace it down to un cable pelón. I was surprised by this use of the word as applied to a wire. I discovered that pelón can […]

    Pelón on November 20th, 2007


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