Difference Between Gift and Present


Main Difference

The main difference between the gift and the present is that the gift refers to natural ability or talent given in an informal way and present refers to the act of giving or an award which is given formally or ceremonially.

Gift vs. Present

Gift refers to something that is given voluntarily and willingly to another person. It is a thing given voluntarily to someone without payment and compensation. Present refers to bringing something to a person, i.e., presenting them with any reward or another thing. A gift is likely to be much more valuable and usually passes from the high to the low, from the rich to the poor. A present, however, passes between equals or from the inferior to the superior. Gift generally has a formal implication than the present. Also, it refers to natural ability, or a miracle like the gift of gab, a gifted artist, and even the gift of life. The term present has an informal implication. It often refers to the humble, simpler or material gifts. Gifts are typically associated with “give gifts” because gifts have become more widely known as something given freely with no restrictions. Presents are usually associated with “receive presents” because they are linked to presentations. Gifts may apply to a wide range of situation, and the word is also used in abstract terms to refer to abilities and talents. Present may refer to a moment in time and the act of being present. The word gift is used with the inherent talent or skill that one has. As God is believed to have given/gifted us these things. Gift applies to a wider range of situations, talents or intangible things. Presents are more concrete and presentable, e.g., medals, birthday presents, trophies, etc.


Comparison Chart

A natural ability or talent gave in an informal wayThe act of giving or an award which is given formally or ceremonially
Middle English: from Old Norse giftMiddle English: from Old French
Way of Giving
Passes From
High to lowLow to high

What is Gift?

The gift comes from the old Germanic root which means “to give.” The present comes from the French for “to present.” A gift is something given willingly and voluntarily to someone without payment. The gift is synonymous with present and reward. Gift can be an attributive noun, acting as an adjective to modify another noun. The gift also refers to natural ability or talent. Gifts also refer to the presents you give to your friends and family as well as donations and rewards you give to charity. It is something that is bestowed willingly without compensation.



  • He gave her a diamond ring as an anniversary gift.
  • the gift of healing people
  • Picasso had the gift of painting

What is Present?

A present refers to only practical and tangible things that are bestowed formally. It is something that you want the recipient to have. The term ‘present’ is originated from an old French phrase which translates to English as ‘put a thing into the presence of a person.’ So every definition associated with the word present can be traced back to this original definition of bringing something to a person. The present is more casual sounding than a gift. Presents have greater potential for inspiring new thoughts and broadening the horizons. The present does not describe other nouns. We have gift cards, gift boxes, and gift wrap, not present cards, present boxes, and present wrap. However, the noun present does not refer to a natural talent or ability. The verb present means to give or award ceremonially or formally.


  • The minister will present the prizes.
  • He has presented a trophy for his first position.

Key Differences

  1. The gift is a natural ability or talent whereas present does not refer to natural talent.
  2. The gift is the act of giving a gift on the other hand present is the act of giving something formally or ceremonially.
  3. Gift can be concrete or abstract, i.e., a birthday gift or gift of voice by God conversely present is typically concrete, i.e. a birthday present or a Christmas present.
  4. The gift is a thing given willingly to someone without payment on the flip side. The verb present is to introduce someone to anyone else formally or to give a gift in a formal situation.
  5. Gifts may also apply to a wide range of situations in referring to abilities and talents while present may also refer to a moment in time and the act of being present.


Gift and present have the same context as some differences. The present is occasionally used in a practical and concrete context whereas gift is rather used in an abstract or formal context.

Aimie Carlson

Aimie Carlson is an English language enthusiast who loves writing and has a master degree in English literature. Follow her on Twitter at @AimieCarlson