Sometime around the end
of the 20th century
and the beginning of the 21st
, the word utilize
has begun to creep into the English
language as a fancy synonym
. To this I say, "Bad English
! No biscuit
Simply put, "use" is the generic word that you say or write when talking about how you employed something for some purpose. For example: I used the pencil to write the letter.
"Utilize" is only used when the purpose for which you employ the thing is something other than its primary or common purpose. For example: I utilized the pencil to prop up the table leg.
So now you know, and knowing is half the battle!