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Exceptional vs. Special: What's the Difference?

Edited by Sumera Saeed || By Sara Rehman || Published on December 3, 2023
Exceptional means surpassing the ordinary or usual, often in a remarkable or superior way; special refers to being distinguished by unique or specific qualities.

Key Differences

Exceptional is often used to describe something that is extraordinary or surpasses usual standards. It typically connotes a high level of excellence or rarity. Special, on the other hand, implies that something is distinguished or different from the norm, often due to unique qualities or circumstances.
Sara Rehman
Dec 03, 2023
Exceptional emphasizes a level of performance or quality that is significantly above the standard. It suggests rarity and outstanding attributes. Special, in contrast, focuses on the distinctiveness or particular importance of something, without necessarily implying superiority.
Sara Rehman
Dec 03, 2023
In usage, something exceptional usually stands out in comparison to others in its category because of its superior qualities. Special, however, is often used in a more personal context, signifying emotional value, uniqueness, or specific relevance to a situation or individual.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 03, 2023
The term exceptional often carries a sense of awe or admiration due to its rarity and high standards. Special, while still positive, is more intimate and subjective, relating more to personal significance or individual preferences.
Sara Rehman
Dec 03, 2023
In recognition, exceptional achievements or abilities are often acknowledged publicly and widely admired. Special moments or items, though, might hold significance primarily or exclusively to specific individuals or groups, cherished for personal reasons.
Harlon Moss
Dec 03, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Connotation

Surpassing ordinary standards
Distinctiveness, unique qualities
Sara Rehman
Dec 03, 2023

Implication of Quality

Superiority, high excellence
Importance, personal value
Sara Rehman
Dec 03, 2023

Context of Use

Comparative, professional realms
Personal, emotional significance
Sara Rehman
Dec 03, 2023

Emotional Resonance

Awe, admiration
Intimacy, subjectivity
Janet White
Dec 03, 2023

Recognition

Public admiration, accolades
Personal or group significance
Janet White
Dec 03, 2023
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Exceptional and Special Definitions

Exceptional

Surpassing the usual or ordinary.
Her exceptional skills made her a leader in the field.
Sara Rehman
Nov 27, 2023

Special

Holding particular importance.
His special bond with his grandfather was heartwarming.
Sara Rehman
Nov 27, 2023

Exceptional

Remarkable or extraordinary in quality.
The chef's exceptional talent was evident in every dish.
Sara Rehman
Nov 27, 2023

Special

Distinguished by unique qualities.
The special edition book was a collector's item.
Sara Rehman
Nov 27, 2023

Exceptional

Unusually excellent or superior.
His exceptional performance earned him a promotion.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 27, 2023

Special

Specifically designed for a purpose.
She received special training for the mission.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 27, 2023

Exceptional

Rare or uncommon in a positive way.
Her exceptional insight was invaluable to the project.
Sara Rehman
Nov 27, 2023

Special

Having personal or emotional significance.
The necklace was special because it belonged to her mother.
Sara Rehman
Nov 27, 2023

Exceptional

Standing out from the norm.
The exceptional quality of the artwork was recognized by all.
Sara Rehman
Nov 27, 2023

Special

Intended for a specific reason.
They made a special trip to visit the museum.
Sara Rehman
Nov 27, 2023

Exceptional

Being an exception; uncommon
This town is exceptional for the region in having a high tax rate.
Sara Rehman
Nov 23, 2023

Special

Surpassing what is common or usual; exceptional
A special occasion.
A special treat.
Sara Rehman
Nov 23, 2023

Special

Distinct among others of a kind
A special type of paint.
A special medication for arthritis.
Sara Rehman
Nov 23, 2023

FAQs

What does exceptional mean?

Surpassing usual standards, extraordinary in quality.
Sara Rehman
Dec 03, 2023

Is exceptional always a positive term?

Generally, though it can also highlight unusual challenges.
Sara Rehman
Dec 03, 2023

Can a skill be both exceptional and special?

Yes, if it's outstanding and holds personal significance.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 03, 2023

Can an everyday object be exceptional?

If it significantly surpasses typical standards, yes.
Sara Rehman
Dec 03, 2023

Can a person be both exceptional and special?

Yes, a person can be exceptional in abilities and special in personal significance.
Sara Rehman
Dec 03, 2023

Is special a subjective term?

Often, as it relates to personal value or importance.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 03, 2023

What types of things are often described as special?

Items or moments with personal or emotional significance.
Sara Rehman
Dec 03, 2023

Can a product be marketed as both exceptional and special?

Yes, if it excels in quality and has unique features.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 03, 2023

How is exceptional different from special?

Exceptional implies superiority, while special denotes uniqueness.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 03, 2023

How does one identify something as special?

Through its unique qualities or personal importance.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 03, 2023

Can an exceptional talent go unnoticed?

It can, especially in less visible or recognized fields.
Harlon Moss
Dec 03, 2023

How do cultural differences impact what is considered special?

Cultural values and traditions heavily influence this perception.
Sara Rehman
Dec 03, 2023

What makes a day special?

Personal significance, unique events, or celebrations.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 03, 2023

Can a relationship be special?

Yes, if it holds particular importance to those involved.
Janet White
Dec 03, 2023

Are exceptional circumstances always positive?

Not always; they can also be challenging or difficult.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 03, 2023

What makes an event exceptional?

Its rarity and remarkable nature.
Janet White
Dec 03, 2023

Does exceptional imply rarity?

Typically, as it stands out from the norm.
Harlon Moss
Dec 03, 2023

Does exceptional always relate to performance?

Often, but it can also apply to qualities or characteristics.
Harlon Moss
Dec 03, 2023

Is special often used in intimate contexts?

Yes, particularly in personal and emotional situations.
Janet White
Dec 03, 2023

Can something be special to one person but not to others?

Absolutely, as special is often a subjective evaluation.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 03, 2023
About Author
Written by
Sara Rehman
Sara Rehman is a seasoned writer and editor with extensive experience at Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Information Technology, she combines her academic prowess with her passion for writing to deliver insightful and well-researched content.
Edited by
Sumera Saeed
Sumera is an experienced content writer and editor with a niche in comparative analysis. At Diffeence Wiki, she crafts clear and unbiased comparisons to guide readers in making informed decisions. With a dedication to thorough research and quality, Sumera's work stands out in the digital realm. Off the clock, she enjoys reading and exploring diverse cultures.

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