Difference Between Living Things vs. Non-living Things

Main Difference

The key difference between living and non-living things is that living things are those creatures that are alive while there is no life in non-living objects.

Living vs. Non-living Things

There are different ways to divide this world. Generally, everything in this universe is divided into two forms, i.e. living and non-living things. We face both living and non-living things in our daily lives. It is very easy to differentiate between them. Living things are the creatures that are active or alive while non-living things are objects that do not have a life. Living organisms are made up of the cell and have a well-developed structure while non-living things are not composed of cells and do not have such a specialized structure. Living organisms can be further divided into plants, animals or microorganisms etc. While non-living things are divided into solid, liquid and gas etc.

Comparison Chart

BasisLiving ThingsNon-living Things
DefinitionA living thing is a creature that is alive.Non-livings are objects that do not have a life.
MovementLiving things can move by themselves.Non-livings cannot move by themselves.
Growth and DevelopmentLiving things show growth and development.Non-livings do not show any growth and development.
OrganisationLiving things are made up of the cell and are fully organised.Non-living things are not made up of the cell and do not show any organisation
EvolutionLiving things show evolution with time.There is no evolution in non-living things.
EnergyThey required food to get energy.Non-living things do not eat anything.
ReproductionLiving things reproduce to increase their number or for survival.Non-living things do not reproduce.
MetabolismMetabolic reactions like catabolism and anabolism take place in living things.Metabolic reactions do not take place in non-living things.
SensesLiving things sense things and can show a reaction to an external stimulus.Non-living things do not sense.
Life SpanLiving things have a certain lifespan, after which they die.Non-living things do not have anything like lifespan.
ExamplePlants, Animals and microorganisms etc.Chair, Table, Gasses etc.

What are Living Things?

Living things refer to the organisms that are alive. Some organisms are made up of single cell they are called unicellular organisms. Others are made up of repetition of multiple basic units, i.e. cell. Different cells combine to make tissues; tissues combine to make organs and different organs combine to make an organ system. These organ systems combine to make a complete organism. So, living organisms have a proper organisation. Living organisms can move themselves or their parts in response to external stimulus. They get energy by eating food and can eliminate their waste products. They also respire to release energy. Living organisms show development and can grow with time. They reproduce to increase in number and can show evolution with time to adapt themselves in their changing environment. Moreover, some organisms can also maintain their internal environment, i.e. homeostasis. Plants, animals and microorganisms etc. are examples of living things.

What are Non-living Things?

Non-living things refer to the objects that are not alive. They are made up of non-living material like plastic, leather, iron, cotton, metals and wood etc. Non-living things do not perform any characteristics of life like growth, development, respiration, reproduction, homeostasis, excretion and evolution etc. They cannot move by themselves. Examples of non-living things are furniture and vehicles etc.

Key Differences

  1. Living things are alive while there is no anything like life in non-living
  2. Living organisms can move by themselves, but non-living things cannot move by themselves.
  3. Living organisms have a proper organisation while non-living things do not have any specific organisation.
  4. Homeostasis is shown by living organisms but not by non-living things.
  5. Living organisms show growth and development while non-living cannot grow and develop.
  6. Food is essential for living organisms but not for non-living things.
  7. Living things reproduce and show evolution while non-living cannot perform reproduction and evolution.
  8. Metabolic reactions take place in living things but not in non-living things.
  9. Living things have a certain lifespan, after which they die whereas non-living things do not have anything like lifespan.

Comparison Video


From the above discussion, it is concluded that living things are the organisms that are alive and have all the characteristics of life, e.g. growth, development, respiration, reproduction, homeostasis, excretion and evolution etc. and have a certain lifespan while non-living things are the objects that are without life and its characteristics and do not have anything like lifespan.