Prospective vs. Perspective: Looking at the Differences

, Staff Writer
Updated November 22, 2021
Prospective - Couple Dream of House vs Perspective - Architecture construction design
    Prospective - Couple Dream of House vs Perspective - Architecture construction design
    Prospective: invincible_bulldog / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Perspective: yewkeo / iStock / Getty Images Plus
    Used under Getty Images license

Do you offer a prospective or a perspective for the future? Does an artist use prospective or perspective in their painting? Explore the distinction between prospective and perspective, as well as how and when to use them.

Know the Difference: Prospective and Perspective

Prospective and perspective may look similar, but they are different words with unrelated meanings. A good way to remember the difference is that prospective refers to the future while perspective is usually rooted in the present.

  • prospective - vision of the future; likely to be or happen

  • perspective - a viewpoint, either mental or literal

Meaning and Usage of Prospective

Prospective is an adjective that refers to something that could potentially happen or is likely to happen in the future. This can be an abstract concept of what the future may hold or distinct goals. It also refers to something or someone that is “potential” or “likely” to happen or become something.

  • The real estate agent showed the prospective buyers the house.

  • We went over prospective solutions for the future in the meeting.

  • The prospective students took a tour of the school.


Using Perspective in a Sentence

The word perspective can be used as either a noun or adjective. It is usually used as a noun to mean “a viewpoint of something or someone.” This can be a physical view as in the case of your line of vision or an artist’s use of perspective in their work. It can also mean a mental perspective as in your thoughts on something or how you view something. As an adjective, it describes relating to or employing perspective to something such as “perspective drawing.”

  • She had a new perspective on life.

  • The artist’s painting displayed incredible perspective.

  • The visiting professor offered a fresh, new perspective on the subject.

A New Perspective on Choosing the Right Word

Words that look similar sometimes come from the same root and other times have nothing in common. Review words that look similar at first glance but are in fact unrelated, such as cavalry and calvary or conscience and conscious.