Exact vs. Accurate

Difference Between Exact and Accurate

Exact and Exact are two words that are often confused because of the similarity in their meanings and usage. However, there is a slight difference between the two words. The word ‘exact’ is used as an adjective to mean  ‘correct’ or ‘suitable’ as in the following sentences:

1. The design is exact.

2. The exact distance between the two villages is 8 km.

In the first sentence, the word ‘exact’ conveys the sense of ‘correct’; the sentence thus means, ‘the drawing is correct’. In the second sentence, the word ‘exact’ transmits the sense of ‘precise’ and therefore, implies that ‘the precise distance between the two villages is 8 km’.

The word ‘accurate’ is applied as an adjective; it has a similar meaning of ‘correctness’ and ‘exact’. To understand better, see the two sentences below:

1. You should be accurate in doing this work.

2. Take accurate measurements.

In the first sentence you can see that the word ‘accurate’ implies being ‘careful’, as in, ‘be careful in doing this work’. In the second sentence, the meaning is precise: ‘be slow, and take precise measurements’.

The adverbial form of accurate is accurately and of exact is exactly. Both words can also be used in their noun forms, as in accuracy and exactness. Thus, these words are very similar in meaning and the difference is only in the context in which they are used.


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