Difference Wiki

Person vs. Individual: What's the Difference?

Edited by Janet White || By Harlon Moss || Published on December 12, 2023
A person refers to a human being, often with a focus on social or legal aspects, whereas an individual emphasizes distinct identity or uniqueness.

Key Differences

The term "person" is commonly used in social and legal contexts, referring to a human being with certain rights and responsibilities. "Individual" stresses the distinct characteristics or identity of a person, highlighting their uniqueness.
In everyday language, "person" is a general term for any human being, often used in a collective sense. "Individual" is typically used to single out one person from a group, emphasizing their specific traits or actions.
"Person" carries social and relational connotations, often used in contexts involving human interactions or societal roles. "Individual" conveys a sense of independence and distinctiveness, often used in discussions about personal identity or autonomy.
"Individual" is generally more formal and specific than "person," and is often used in academic, psychological, or detailed discussions. "Person" is a more general term, suitable for casual and broad references.
Both terms can often be used interchangeably, "individual" is preferred when highlighting aspects like personal choice, characteristics, or independence, whereas "person" is better for general human reference or legal and social contexts.

Comparison Chart


Social, legal
Personal identity, uniqueness


General term for humans
Emphasizes uniqueness


Social, relational
Independence, distinctiveness


Less formal, broad
More formal, specific

Preferred Use

General human reference
Highlighting personal traits

Person and Individual Definitions


Person can refer to someone's physical presence.
There was a person standing at the door.


An individual refers to a single, distinct person.
Each individual has a unique perspective.


In law, a person has rights and responsibilities.
Each person is entitled to fair treatment.


In context, individual highlights uniqueness.
This solution caters to the needs of the individual.


Person denotes an individual in a social context.
She is the kindest person I know.


Individual is often used in formal or academic contexts.
The study focuses on the behavior of the individual.


A person is any human being.
Every person in the room agreed.


Individual emphasizes personal characteristics.
She's an individual with strong opinions.


Person is used in relation to human characteristics.
He's a person of great intelligence.


Individual denotes autonomy and independence.
As an individual, he values his freedom.


A living human. Often used in combination
Salesperson. See Usage Note at chairman.


Of or relating to an individual, especially a single human
Individual consciousness.


How is an individual different from a person?

An individual emphasizes uniqueness and independence, while a person is a general term for a human being.

Is "individual" more formal than "person"?

Yes, "individual" is typically more formal and specific.

What is a person?

A person is any human being, often considered in social or legal terms.

Can "person" and "individual" be used interchangeably?

Often, but "individual" is preferred for emphasizing distinct characteristics.

In what context would you use "person"?

In general references to human beings, in social, or legal contexts.

How does "person" relate to human interactions?

It's commonly used in contexts involving human relationships or societal roles.

Does "person" imply legal rights?

Yes, in legal contexts, "person" often refers to an entity with rights and obligations.

Is "individual" used in psychology?

Yes, especially when discussing personal identity or individual differences.

Why might "individual" be preferred in academic writing?

For its specificity and emphasis on personal characteristics.

Does "person" have a cultural significance?

Yes, it can reflect cultural understandings of human beings and their roles.

Can "individual" be used in a negative sense?

Rarely, but it can imply excessive focus on self when used critically.

How is "individual" used in business?

To refer to personal choices, responsibilities, or consumer behavior.

How do "person" and "individual" differ in legal terms?

"Person" is a broader legal term, while "individual" is more specific to a single entity.

Is "person" adequate for discussing personal identity?

It can be, but "individual" might be more precise for discussing unique personal aspects.

When is "individual" the best choice of word?

When highlighting a person’s unique traits, autonomy, or in detailed academic discussions.

Can "individual" refer to a group?

No, it specifically refers to a single, distinct person.

Can "person" indicate a role in society?

Yes, it often denotes someone's role or status in a social context.

Is "individual" a neutral term?

Generally, but it can imply emphasis on personal agency or characteristics.

Does "person" have a physical connotation?

It can, referring to someone's physical presence or embodiment.

In sociology, how is "person" used?

To discuss aspects of human behavior in a social context.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.

Trending Comparisons

Popular Comparisons

New Comparisons