Suburbs vs. Outskirts. What's the Difference?

Unlike outskirts, suburbs are residential areas with delimitations. The outskirts of a city might be suburbs, or they might not.

The main difference between suburbs and outskirts is:

  • The suburbs (or suburban areas) are the surrounding residential areas of a larger city or town.
  • Outskirts are the outside part or the edges of a city, town, or community.

Unlike outskirts, suburbs have delimitations or borders. The outskirts of a city might be suburbs, or they might not.

I used to live in the suburbs of Chicago.

The airport lies on the outskirts of the city.

Note that we use the preposition "in" before "suburb" because a suburb usually has borders, so you can be in it. By contrast, "outskirts" takes "on" because this term refers to a general area with no delimitations.

I was born in the suburbs.

They have a big house on the outskirts of Bangkok.

And remember, "outskirts" is a noun that only has a plural form; consequently, it takes a plural verb, so we say "outskirts are" (not "outskirts is").

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