Prospective vs. Perspective

Prospective vs. Perspective – What’s the difference?

Even the most seasoned writers can confuse the words prospective and perspective with each other. These words have different meanings and are used as different parts of speech. Since the words look and sound familiar, it is easy to get them confused with each other.

The words share the same root, spective, that comes from a Latin word that means to look. What makes these words so different is their prefixes. This simple change can make all the difference. The prefix per- refers to something complete and the prefix pro- refers to looking forward.

Perspective Meaning and Usage

The word perspective is a noun. It refers to one’s attitude, ideals, point of view, context, or outlook. Perspective is important in art, and it has multiple different meanings.

First, perspective can refer to a way of portraying three-dimensional objects on a two-dimensional surface. It also refers to the angle that something is being viewed and how objects appear in relation to each other.

Perspective comes from the Latin word perspectivus which has a definition of looking through.

Some synonyms of perspective include viewpoint, angle, outlook, stance, and position.

As he told his story, her perspective on the subject changed instantly.

My mom has a different perspective than me when it comes to our favorite colors.

It is hard to see things from the perspective of another person, but it can help you in the long run.

If you change your perspective on a subject, it will be easier for you to have a better attitude toward it.

Prospective Meaning and Use

The word prospective is an adjective that usually refers to the future. It mostly relates to something that is expected or likely to happen in the future.

Prospective comes from the Latin word prospectivus, which means to look forward and to the future.

Some synonyms for the word prospective include probable, possible, likely, eventual, and potential.

There have been prospective buyers coming into the open house all day.

Are you a prospective buyer for this car?

The prospective students are coming in for their orientation today.

A couple who are soon becoming parents is referred to as prospective parents.

Idiomatic Uses of Perspective

There are different expressions and idioms that use the word perspective and have different meanings than the actual definition of the word.

For example, look at the expression “putting into perspective”. This expression means to take a look at the problem from a different context to have an accurate understanding. For example, a team leader might put a presentation into perspective for the rest of the team to understand.

Using the expression, “from my perspective”, means to tell others the way you see an issue. It can also mean asking someone how they think you see things compared to their perspective.

How to Remember Which to Use

One of the easiest ways to remember the difference between prospective and perspective is to think about miners.

A person who mines is doing so with prospective that they will find gold in the future, and hopefully the near future.

Prospective is always an adjective and perspective is always a noun. These words can’t be interchanged with each other because they are too different.

To remember prospective, think about something that is expected. It is used in the context of something that is likely going to happen at some point in time.

Perspective is a viewpoint or attitude about something. It is common for more than one person to have different perspectives. You can think of PERspective and PERson, referring to how a person sees things.