Purpose vs. Reason: What's the Difference?
"Purpose" refers to the intended or desired outcome, while "Reason" denotes the cause or justification for an action or event.
"Purpose" and "Reason" are two words frequently used in English that address the 'why' of a situation. While closely related, they approach the question from distinct angles.
"Purpose" typically describes the goal, aim, or intended outcome of an action. It's the objective or the endpoint one hopes to achieve. "Reason," on the other hand, tackles the 'why' by exploring the cause or justification behind an action or decision.
When someone asks for the "Purpose" of an action, they're seeking to understand the ultimate goal or objective. For instance, the purpose of a job might be to earn money. However, when someone asks for the "Reason," they want to know what prompted or motivated that action. The reason for taking a job could be a passion for the field.
In some contexts, "Purpose" and "Reason" can overlap. For instance, if someone's purpose for reading is knowledge, their reason might also be a thirst for understanding. Despite this overlap, it's essential to recognize their nuanced differences.
It's beneficial to discern between "Purpose" and "Reason" as doing so can lead to clearer communication. By understanding the distinction, one can more effectively convey intentions and motivations.
The intended outcome or goal of an action
The cause or justification behind an action or event
Focuses on objectives and endpoints
Focuses on motivations and causes
"The purpose of the meeting is to discuss finances."
"The reason for the meeting is the recent financial decline."
Addresses the 'what' in the 'why' question
Addresses the 'because' in the 'why' question
Often the end goal
Often the starting point or trigger
Purpose and Reason Definitions
A person's sense of resolve or determination.
She found her purpose in helping others.
The capacity for logical thought or rational judgment.
She chose the path using reason and evidence.
The intended goal or objective of an action.
The purpose of the exercise is to build strength.
The basis or motive for an action, decision, or conviction
There are good reasons to learn a foreign language. See Usage Notes at because, why.
The desired result one intends to achieve.
The purpose of the campaign is to raise awareness.
A declaration made to explain or justify action, decision, or conviction
What reasons did she give for leaving?.
The reason for which something is done or created.
The purpose of the tool is to simplify the task.
A fact or cause that explains why something exists or has occurred
The reason for the building's collapse is unknown.
A particular requirement or consideration.
The room serves a dual purpose: an office and a guest room.
(Logic) A premise, usually the minor premise, of an argument.
The object toward which one strives or for which something exists; an aim or goal
Her purpose in coming here is to talk to you. The purpose of an airliner is to transport people.
The capacity for logical, rational, and analytic thought; intelligence
"Most of us would like to believe that when we say something is right or wrong, we are using our powers of reason alone" (Carl Zimmer).
He was a man of purpose.
The limit of what is reasonable
"It is a curious thing that, when a man hates or loves beyond reason, he is ready to go beyond reason to gratify his feelings" (Rudyard Kipling).
To intend or resolve
"the gap between what is said and what is purposed" (Ian Donaldson).
A normal mental state; sanity
He has lost his reason.
The end for which something is done, is made or exists.
What is the purpose of your visit?
My purpose in coming to Egypt was simply to take it en route to the desert.
It has been my purpose to illustrate rather than to explain.
The exceptionally small gate-leg table served the purpose of a tea table admirably.
The purpose of the device is to prevent the breechblock from opening accidentally should the gun be held barrel down.
The purpose of this letter is to set the record straight.
The purpose of this book is to study the interrelationship of government and religion.
The device can be used for both civilian and military purposes.
The purpose of turning off the lights overnight is to save energy.
To determine or conclude by logical thinking
The doctor reasoned that the patient had a virus.
To persuade or dissuade (someone) with reasons
"You boast ... of having reasoned him out of his absurd romance" (William Makepeace Thackeray).
(Sense of having a) meaning for existing or doing something.
To use the faculty of reason; think logically
What would lead you to reason so?.
To talk or argue logically and persuasively
Tried to reason with her son to eat a good breakfast.
(obsolete) The subject of discourse; the point at issue.
(Obsolete) To engage in conversation or discussion.
(transitive) To have or set as one's purpose or aim; resolve to accomplish; intend; plan.
(intransitive) To have (an) intention, purpose, or design; to intend; to mean.
That which causes something: an efficient cause, a proximate cause.
The reason this tree fell is that it had rotted.
A motive for an action or a determination.
The reason I robbed the bank was that I needed the money.
If you don't give me a reason to go with you, I won't.
That which a person sets before himself as an object to be reached or accomplished; the end or aim to which the view is directed in any plan, measure, or exertion; view; aim; design; intention; plan.
He will his firste purpos modify.
As my eternal purpose hath decreed.
The flighty purpose never is o'ertookUnless the deed go with it.
An excuse: a thought or a consideration offered in support of a determination or an opinion; that which is offered or accepted as an explanation.
Proposal to another; discourse.
(logic) A premise placed after its conclusion.
(uncountable) Rational thinking (or the capacity for it); the cognitive faculties, collectively, of conception, judgment, deduction and intuition.
Mankind should develop reason above all other virtues.
To set forth; to bring forward.
(obsolete) Something reasonable, in accordance with thought; justice.
To propose, as an aim, to one's self; to determine upon, as some end or object to be accomplished; to intend; to design; to resolve; - often followed by an infinitive or dependent clause.
Did nothing purpose against the state.
I purpose to write the history of England from the accession of King James the Second down to a time which is within the memory of men still living.
To have a purpose or intention; to discourse.
(intransitive) To deduce or come to a conclusion by being rational
An anticipated outcome that is intended or that guides your planned actions;
His intent was to provide a new translation
Good intentions are not enough
It was created with the conscious aim of answering immediate needs
He made no secret of his designs
(intransitive) To perform a process of deduction or of induction, in order to convince or to confute; to argue.
What something is used for;
The function of an auger is to bore holes
Ballet is beautiful but what use is it?
To converse; to compare opinions.
The quality of being determined to do or achieve something;
His determination showed in his every movement
He is a man of purpose
(ambitransitive) To arrange and present the reasons for or against; to examine or discuss by arguments; to debate or discuss.
I reasoned the matter with my friend.
Propose or intend;
I aim to arrive at noon
To support with reasons, as a request.
Reach a decision;
He resolved never to drink again
(transitive) To persuade by reasoning or argument.
To reason one into a belief; to reason one out of his plan
To overcome or conquer by adducing reasons.
To reason down a passion
To find by logical process; to explain or justify by reason or argument.
To reason out the causes of the librations of the moon
A thought or a consideration offered in support of a determination or an opinion; a just ground for a conclusion or an action; that which is offered or accepted as an explanation; the efficient cause of an occurrence or a phenomenon; a motive for an action or a determination; proof, more or less decisive, for an opinion or a conclusion; principle; efficient cause; final cause; ground of argument.
I'll give him reasons for it.
The reason of the motion of the balance in a wheel watch is by the motion of the next wheel.
This reason did the ancient fathers render, why the church was called "catholic."
Virtue and vice are not arbitrary things; but there is a natural and eternal reason for that goodness and virtue, and against vice and wickedness.
The faculty or capacity of the human mind by which it is distinguished from the intelligence of the inferior animals; the higher as distinguished from the lower cognitive faculties, sense, imagination, and memory, and in contrast to the feelings and desires. Reason comprises conception, judgment, reasoning, and the intuitional faculty. Specifically, it is the intuitional faculty, or the faculty of first truths, as distinguished from the understanding, which is called the discursive or ratiocinative faculty.
We have no other faculties of perceiving or knowing anything divine or human, but by our five senses and our reason.
In common and popular discourse, reason denotes that power by which we distinguish truth from falsehood, and right from wrong, and by which we are enabled to combine means for the attainment of particular ends.
Reason is used sometimes to express the whole of those powers which elevate man above the brutes, and constitute his rational nature, more especially, perhaps, his intellectual powers; sometimes to express the power of deduction or argumentation.
By the pure reason I mean the power by which we become possessed of principles.
The sense perceives; the understanding, in its own peculiar operation, conceives; the reason, or rationalized understanding, comprehends.
Due exercise of the reasoning faculty; accordance with, or that which is accordant with and ratified by, the mind rightly exercised; right intellectual judgment; clear and fair deductions from true principles; that which is dictated or supported by the common sense of mankind; right conduct; right; propriety; justice.
I was promised, on a time,To have reason for my rhyme.
But law in a free nation hath been ever public reason; the enacted reason of a parliament, which he denying to enact, denies to govern us by that which ought to be our law; interposing his own private reason, which to us is no law.
The most probable way of bringing France to reason would be by the making an attempt on the Spanish West Indies.
When anything is proved by as good arguments as a thing of that kind is capable of, we ought not, in reason, to doubt of its existence.
Yet it were great reason, that those that have children should have greatest care of future times.
To exercise the rational faculty; to deduce inferences from premises; to perform the process of deduction or of induction; to ratiocinate; to reach conclusions by a systematic comparison of facts.
Hence: To carry on a process of deduction or of induction, in order to convince or to confute; to formulate and set forth propositions and the inferences from them; to argue.
Stand still, that I may reason with you, before the Lord, of all the righteous acts of the Lord.
To converse; to compare opinions.
To arrange and present the reasons for or against; to examine or discuss by arguments; to debate or discuss; as, I reasoned the matter with my friend.
When they are clearly discovered, well digested, and well reasoned in every part, there is beauty in such a theory.
To support with reasons, as a request.
To persuade by reasoning or argument; as, to reason one into a belief; to reason one out of his plan.
Men that will not be reasoned into their senses.
To overcome or conquer by adducing reasons; - with down; as, to reason down a passion.
To find by logical processes; to explain or justify by reason or argument; - usually with out; as, to reason out the causes of the librations of the moon.
A rational motive for a belief or action;
The reason that war was declared
The grounds for their declaration
An explanation of the cause of some phenomenon;
The reason a steady state was never reached was that the back pressure built up too slowly
The capacity for rational thought or inference or discrimination;
We are told that man is endowed with reason and capable of distinguishing good from evil
The state of having good sense and sound judgment;
His rationality may have been impaired
He had to rely less on reason than on rousing their emotions
A justification for something existing or happening;
He had no cause to complain
They had good reason to rejoice
A fact that logically justifies some premise or conclusion;
There is reason to believe he is lying
Decide by reasoning; draw or come to a conclusion;
We reasoned that it was cheaper to rent than to buy a house
Present reasons and arguments
The children must learn to reason
A cause or explanation for an action or event.
The reason for his absence was a family emergency.
A motive or grounds for a particular feeling or action.
He had no reason to lie about the situation.
The power of understanding and intellect.
It's beyond reason to expect such outcomes.
An argument or fact that justifies a choice.
The primary reason for the change was customer feedback.
Are "Purpose" and "Reason" interchangeable?
While related, they have nuanced differences; "Purpose" is the goal, while "Reason" is the cause.
Can the "Purpose" and "Reason" for an action be the same?
In some contexts, they can overlap, but they approach the 'why' from different angles.
Which word delves into motivations?
"Reason" explores the cause or justification behind actions.
Can "Purpose" imply a sense of life direction?
Absolutely, "Purpose" can mean a person's sense of resolve or life's mission.
How can I distinguish between the two in a sentence?
Consider if the focus is on the objective (purpose) or the cause (reason).
Which term is more goal-oriented?
"Purpose" is more goal-oriented, focusing on desired outcomes.
Can one action have multiple purposes and reasons?
Yes, an action can serve multiple objectives and have several motivations.
Which word emphasizes the end goal?
"Purpose" emphasizes the intended outcome or objective.
Can "Reason" also relate to rational thought?
Yes, "Reason" can refer to logical thought or judgment.
Why is understanding the difference important?
Distinguishing between them can lead to clearer communication.
Can animals have a purpose?
In a functional sense, yes, like birds building nests with the purpose of shelter.
Do reasons always have to be logical?
No, reasons can be emotional, instinctual, or even irrational.
Can both terms relate to everyday activities?
Written bySawaira Riaz
Sawaira is a dedicated content editor at difference.wiki, where she meticulously refines articles to ensure clarity and accuracy. With a keen eye for detail, she upholds the site's commitment to delivering insightful and precise content.
Edited bySumera 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.