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Specific vs. Particular: What's the Difference?

Edited by Janet White || By Harlon Moss || Updated on November 2, 2023
Specific refers to something clearly defined or identified; particular often implies something unique or individual among others.

Key Differences

Specificity denotes clarity and explicitness, whereas particularity connotes a sense of being distinct within a broader category. Specific details leave no room for ambiguity, while particular traits may simply highlight attributes that distinguish an item or situation from similar ones.
When one is specific, they provide detailed information. Being particular, on the other hand, can suggest a focus on something unique or a preference for a certain item over others, perhaps due to specific characteristics.
The term specific can also relate to the unique nature of something; however, it is commonly used to convey precision and definitiveness in information or requirements. Particular can carry a nuance of fastidiousness or choosiness beyond mere distinctiveness.
A specific instruction is clear and precise, meant to be followed exactly. A particular requirement may be due to individual tastes or circumstances, often implying a degree of selectiveness.
Specific is used when the emphasis is on the exactness and distinct nature of the information provided. Particular, while similar, tends to emphasize a single, often unique element within a set, which does not necessarily need to be specified by precise details.

Comparison Chart


Clearly defined or identified; explicit.
Distinct among others; detailed in selection.


Precision and exactness.
Uniqueness and individuality.


Often refers to information or requirements.
Can imply preferences or choosiness.


Can be broad or narrow, but always clear.
Often refers to a single element or detail.


Sometimes used interchangeably.
Sometimes used interchangeably but can convey a more selective nuance.

Specific and Particular Definitions


Clearly defined or identified.
The scientist requested specific measurements.


Greater than usual in attention to detail.
He's very particular about his work.


Relating uniquely to the subject at hand.
This tool has a specific use in surgery.


Specific to something.
This device is for one particular type of engine.


Precise or particular.
She had very specific tastes in music.


Distinctive among others.
She could recall that particular day vividly.


Detailed and exact.
He gave specific instructions on how to assemble the furniture.


Used to single out an individual member of a specified group or class.
She had a particular fondness for the old library.


Intended for, or applying to, a particular thing.
This is a specific remedy for your ailment.


Exacting or fastidious.
They were looking for a house with very particular features.


Explicitly set forth; definite
Wrote specific instructions.


Of, belonging to, or associated with a specific person, group, thing, or category; not general or universal
She did not have a particular café in mind for their get-together.


Clear or detailed in communicating
Be specific when telling us what you need.


Distinctive among others of the same group, category, or nature; noteworthy or exceptional
An area known for its particular style of architecture.


Can specific and particular be used interchangeably?

Sometimes, but not when particular implies choosiness.

Does specific imply precision?

Yes, it denotes exactness.

Can something be particular without being specific?

Yes, if it's distinct but not precisely defined.

Is particular more about preference?

Often, it implies a choice based on distinct characteristics.

Does particular suggest something special?

It can imply something is singled out for its distinctness.

Can a person be described as particular?

Yes, if they are choosy or meticulous.

Can a detail be both specific and particular?

Yes, if it's clearly defined and distinct.

Can specific refer to a general category?

No, it refers to clearly identified aspects.

Is a specific example more helpful than a general one?

Usually, because it provides a precise illustration.

Are specifications and particulars the same?

Not quite; specifications are precise details, while particulars can be preferences.

In legal terms, is specific more important than particular?

Legal language requires both precision and attention to distinct elements.

Is being particular about food choices common?

Yes, many people have particular dietary preferences.

Are specific instructions easy to follow?

They should be, given their clarity.

Can a specific fact be general?

No, by definition, it cannot be general.

Does particular have a positive or negative connotation?

It can be either, depending on context.

Can a specific attitude be beneficial?

Yes, if it leads to clarity of purpose.

How do you make a particular choice?

By focusing on the distinct qualities you prefer.

Do specific objectives lead to better outcomes?

They can, by providing clear goals.

Does specific always mean detailed?

Specific means clearly defined, which often involves details.

Do particular people have specific tastes?

Yes, particular tastes are often very specific.
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.

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