Grammar Monster
Grammar Monster

Human or Humane?

The Quick Answer
What is the difference between human and humane?

A human is a person. As an adjective, human means having a characteristic of humanity.
  • It is a human bone (i.e., a bone from a person).
Humane describes the quality of having compassion.
  • It was a humane decision (i.e., a compassionate decision).


The noun human means a person. As an adjective, it describes a characteristic of mankind (e.g., the human soul, human body, the human mind).

  • I believe that every human feels pleasure in doing good to another. (Thomas Jefferson)
  • To err is human, but to really foul things up you need a computer. (Paul R Ehrlich)
  • (Here, human is an adjective.)


The adjective humane describes the quality of having or showing compassion.

  • This inhuman world has to become more humane. (Friedrich Durrenmatt)
  • In my view, there is no such thing as humane meat. (Ingrid Newkirk)
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