Difference between Live, Life and Lives

Key difference: Life is the condition of living, breathing, eating, etc. which distinguishes living things from non-living things, i.e. inanimate objects which do not have life. ‘Lives’ is the plural form of life. It is used in the same manner and context as life, except when speaking about two or more people rather than just one person. Live is always used in the context of ‘to live’, such as ‘the doctors said she had only six months to live.’  

Live, Life and LivesEnglish can be a confusing language, especially if one is an English learner or a non-native speaker. English is especially made confusing due to many words that are look or sound similar but actually have different meaning. One example of such words is live, life and lives. Even through the three words look and sound similar, they have different meanings and are actually used differently.

All three terms refer to the concept of life, which is the condition of being alive. All living things have life, in fact they are alive or living because they have life. Life is the condition of living, breathing, eating, etc. which distinguishes living things from non-living things, i.e. inanimate objects which do not have life. For example: “I love my life”. This refers to the fact that the speaker is living, and that they love how they are living, what they are doing, etc.

‘Lives’ is the plural form of life. It is used in the same manner and context as life, except when speaking about two or more people rather than just one person. For example: “The nine lives of a cat,” or “Her family lives very interesting lives.” This sentence uses lives in two different manners, one to indicate that her family is alive and that the way they live or lead their lives is interesting.

The primary difference between the three terms is the fact that live is a verb and is used as such, whereas life and lives are nouns. Hence, live is always used in the context of ‘to live’, such as ‘the doctors said she had only six months to live.’  This indicates that the person would only be alive for the next six months, after which she would no longer be alive, i.e. she will be dead.

Live, Life and LivesThe term is also used in the context of how and where the person spends their life, such as ‘she lived in US her whole life.” This means that the entire time she was alive; she resided in the United States of America.

It should also be noted that live is also used in the context of not dead or inanimate, i.e. living. In this context the word is used as an adjective, which is used to describe something else. For example: we watch a live bear attack. The sentence here indicates that the bear was alive when it attacked and that it happened in front of them. Similarly, the term is also used to refer to other objects, which are not traditionally living, such as “we watched a live football match.” This indicates that the football match was happening live, i.e. right now and in front of them. It was not pre-recorded.

Comparison between Live, Life and Lives:

 

Live

Life

Lives

Definition

Remain alive.

Spend one's life in a particular way or under particular circumstances.

Not dead or inanimate; living

The condition that distinguishes animals and plants from inorganic matter, including the capacity for growth, reproduction, functional activity, and continual change preceding death.

plural form of life

Type

Verb, Adjective

Noun

Noun

Uses

To indicate that something is alive and living and not dead, or non-living.

The condition living that separates a living thing from a non-living thing. The period between the birth and death of a living thing.

Plural form of life. Also indicates that something is currently happening and is not recorded.

Example

The doctors said she had only six months to live

She had to live for her daughter

There was a live snake

 

Mary’s life was interesting

She loved her life

She lead a fun life

The valley is teeming with bird life

The nine lives of a cat

Her family lives very interesting lives.

The lives of her children

A disaster that claimed the lives of 266 people.

Reference: Oxford Dictionaries (Live, Life And Lives), Englisch-hilfen, Pediaa, Learnex
Image Courtesy: azquotes.com, pinterest.com

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