The Grammar GuideSpellingWhat is the difference between 'live' and 'life'?

What is the difference between 'live' and 'life'?

What is the difference between 'live' and 'life'?

The words live and life are often confused because they have a similar spelling. In this article, we explain the difference between them.

Life means the state that follows birth, and precedes death; the state of being alive and living when used as a noun.

Live means to be alive; to have life when used as a verb.

Live is also used as an adjective. It means having life; that is alive.

A good way to remember the difference is Live is the simple present form of living.

Out of the two words, 'life' is the most common. It appears about four times more frequently than 'live'.



It's easy to confuse words with similar spellings like live and life.

Life is a noun that means "the state that follows birth and precedes death."

Live can be used as a verb to mean "to be alive." When it's used as a verb, it is pronounced with a short "i" sound.

Live can also be used as an adject to mean "alive, living." When it's used as an adjective, it is pronounced with a long "i" sound (rhymes with "hive."

Should I use 'live and learn' or 'life and learn'?

The right expression is 'live and learn'. These phrases are often confused because they look similar.

Is the correct expression 'live and let live' or 'life and let life'?

You should use 'live and let live'. These phrases are often confused because they appear similar.

Which is right 'you only live once' or 'you only life once'?

The correct phrase is 'you only live once'. These phrases are often confused because they have a similar spelling.

Is the expression 'big as life' or 'big as live'?

The right phrase is 'big as life'. These phrases are often confused because they look similar.

What's the right phrase 'dog's life' or 'dog's live'?

The right expression is 'dog's life'. These phrases are often confused because of their similar spelling.

Should I use 'get a life' or 'get a live'?

The right phrase is 'get a life'. These phrases are often confused because they look similar.

What's the correct phrase 'life's a bitch' or 'live's a bitch'?

The correct expression is 'life's a bitch'. These phrases are often confused because they look similar.

Some synonyms of live are: alive, exist, inhabit.

Some synonyms of life are: sprightliness, experience, animation, liveliness, lifespan.

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The definitions in this article were adapted from Wiktionary.

Dictionary Definition of liveDictionary Definition of life

Examples of live in a sentence

A soldier can live in a worn-out uniform, but he has to eat.
- Demon Lord of Karanda by David Eddings
Does he live down in LoDo now?”
- Touch of Darkness by C. T. Adams; Cathy Clamp
What was the point of returning to Newenham to live if she couldnt help out her own?
- Nothing gold can stay by Dana Stabenow
Nor is it how people live.
- Beatrice and Virgil by Yann Martel
And live again.
- The heart of Devin MacKade by Nora Roberts

Examples of life in a sentence

Before thirty seconds had ticked away, April was dead, and he, too, had passed out of life.
- In the night room: a novel by Peter Straub
It is the organ that gives new life to that which has never been alive.
- Grand Junction by Maurice G. Dantec
What had happened to her in her life?
- Weighed in the balance by Anne Perry
I climbed over into the front seat and scooted down, holding on for dear life.
- Cropper's cabin by Jim Thompson
Life of Pi
- Beatrice and Virgil by Yann Martel

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