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Various vs. Varied: What's the Difference?

Edited by Janet White || By Harlon Moss || Updated on November 3, 2023
"Various" means more than one, several; "varied" refers to things being different from one another, diverse.

Key Differences

Various indicates a number of different things or types, suggesting a multitude within a category. For instance, a sentence might mention "various topics were discussed in the meeting," implying a number of distinct topics were considered. Varied, on the other hand, refers to a range or a variety of different things, emphasizing the diversity within the group. "The magazine covers varied subjects" suggests that the subjects are not only numerous but also diverse in nature.
The term "various" can function as an adjective, detailing the presence of multiple elements. It often describes a list or a collection where the number is highlighted, such as "She had various reasons for her decision," which underscores that there were several reasons, not necessarily different in nature. Varied is typically used as an adjective to describe something that is characterized by variety, implying a mixture of different types, as in "He has a varied skill set," meaning his skills are not only numerous but also diverse.
In usage, "various" is often followed by a plural noun, stressing quantity. It can be used interchangeably with "several" or "many," like in "There are various books on the shelf," focusing on the count of books. "Varied," however, is more qualitative, suggesting an assortment or a mix, often followed by "in" or "by," as in "Her interests are varied," which highlights the diversity of the interests rather than the number.
When describing assortments, "various" can refer to items that are distinct but not necessarily related, while "varied" implies differences that are notably distinctive, often within a single category. For example, "The shop sells various pastries," suggests a number of pastry types, whereas "The chef's repertoire of pastries is varied," indicates a wide-ranging, distinctive selection.
Using "various," the speaker may be talking about multiple entities that are part of a larger whole, like "Various teams competed in the tournament," signifying several distinct teams. With "varied," the focus might shift to the nature of diversity or disparity within an entity, as in "The tournament saw varied levels of competition," implying a range of competition from low to high.

Comparison Chart


Several, a number of
Diverse, assorted

Usage as an Adjective

Describes quantity or multiplicity
Describes diversity or variety

Example Usage

"various occasions"
"varied cuisine"

Grammatical Follow-up

Often followed by plural nouns
Often followed by "in" or "by"


Quantity, multitude
Diversity, range

Various and Varied Definitions


More than one, numerous.
Various artists contributed to the album.


Having been changed or modified.
The varied designs show creativity.


Of different kinds, several.
They offer various flavors of ice cream.


Characterized by variety.
The varied landscape of the country is breathtaking.


Different types included.
There were various opinions on the topic.


Showing variation or diversity.
His work experience is varied, from teaching to coding.


A collection of distinct things.
The museum features various artifacts from the period.


Incorporating a number of different types or elements.
She enjoys a varied diet full of different fruits and vegetables.


Indicating a range within a group.
The class had students with various backgrounds.


Not uniform or the same.
The play received varied reviews from critics.


Of diverse kinds
Unable to go for various reasons.


Having or consisting of various kinds or forms; diverse
A person with varied talents.


Can varied be used to describe one item?

No, varied describes a range or diversity, not a singular item.

What does various mean?

Various means more than one, several.

Are various and varied synonyms?

Not exactly, various emphasizes number, while varied emphasizes diversity.

Is various used for countable items?

Yes, it's typically used with countable nouns.

How does varied relate to diversity?

Varied specifically refers to something being diverse or assorted.

Can varied refer to changes over time?

Yes, it can describe things that have become diverse over time.

Is it correct to say 'various of'?

No, 'various of' is not standard usage.

Is 'various kinds' a tautology?

Not in all contexts; it can stress both number and diversity.

Can various mean different?

It can imply different kinds, but mainly focuses on number.

Can varied be used quantitatively?

No, it refers to quality, not quantity.

Does varied always mean a mix?

Yes, it implies a mixture of different types.

Do varied activities always involve many people?

Not necessarily; they could be done alone but involve diverse tasks.

Does various imply any specific order?

No, it just indicates several items without a specific sequence.

Is various good for formal writing?

Yes, it is appropriate in formal contexts.

Can varied be a verb?

No, it's an adjective; "vary" is the verb form.

How does varied connect to culture?

It can describe a culture that incorporates a range of different elements.

What part of speech is various?

It's an adjective.

Can varied be used to describe people?

Yes, if referring to their diverse characteristics or backgrounds.

Are various and varied interchangeable?

Not usually, because they highlight different aspects.

Would I use various for similar items?

Yes, if there are several, even if they're similar.
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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