Question: I would like to know the difference between the verbs laugh and smile. They look like the same, but I am not sure how to use them. Could you help me? - Vicente
Hello, Vicente! Yes, I can help. The verbs "laugh" and "smile" both describe what happens when people are happy. Both words can also be used as nouns.
In the Encyclopedia of 20th-Century American Humor, Alleen and Don L. F. Nilsen say one difference between smiling and laughing is that laughing is a social event. People are more likely to smile when alone instead of laughing.
在20世纪美国幽默百科全书中，艾伦·尼尔森和唐·尼尔森（ Alleen and Don L. F. Nilsen）表示，smiling和laughing之间的区别之一是laughing是一种社交活动。人们在独自一人时更可能smile，而不是laughing。
As a verb, laugh means "to smile while you are making a sound from your throat." When writing, Americans often use the words "ha ha" to express this sound.
Now, let's listen to an example of how to use "laugh" as a verb.
I laughed at the comedian on television.
The English language has two noun forms for the word "laugh." Both mean the action or sound of laughing. One is "laugh," which is a count noun. You can make it plural if you wish. For example:
We had a lot of laughs at the cookout yesterday.
Then there is another, noncount noun "laughter," as in this sentence: The crowd broke out in waves of laughter.
Now, we turn to the second part of Vicente's question. To smile means "to turn up the corners of your mouth silently."
Nilsen and Nilsen write, "Smiles are more likely to express feelings of satisfaction or good will, while laughter comes from surprise." We laugh when something unexpected happens.
A smile is "an expression on your face that makes the corners of your mouth turn up and that shows happiness."
Expressions and songs
There is an old saying in English, laughter is contagious. It means that one person laughing can make others start laughing. You also may have heard the saying laughter is the best medicine. That means laughing can make the person doing it feel better.
英语中有句老话说，笑声具有传染力（laughter is contagious），意思是指一个人笑可以让其他人跟着笑。你也可以说笑声是最好的药（laughter is the best medicine），这是指笑声可以让笑的人感觉更好。
We also have many expressions about smiles. Someone who is very happy is all smiles. You can give someone a smile and make them feel better. But laughing at someone can make that person feel bad in most cases.
我们也有很多关于smile的短语。幸福的人满脸笑意（Someone who is very happy is all smiles）。你可以给别人一个微笑，让他们感觉更好。但是大多数情况下，嘲笑某人会让这个人感觉不爽。
There are many songs about smiles. Nat King Cole's "Smile" tells us to smile when we are sad:
还有很多关于smile的歌曲。纳京高（Nat King Cole）的《Smile》教会我们在悲伤时微笑：
"Smile though your heart is aching
Smile even though it's breaking...
When there are clouds in the sky, you'll get by
And there are songs about laughter, as in Neil Sadaka's "Laughter in the Rain"
还有一些关于laughter的歌曲，例如尼尔·萨达卡（Neil Sadaka）的《Laughter in the Rain》：
Oh, I hear laughter in the rain,
Walking hand in hand with the one I love
Oh, how I love the rainy days and the happy way I feel inside
And that's Ask a Teacher.
I'm Jill Robbins.