plane and plain - the difference
The Quick AnswerPlane usually means an airplane, a flat surface or a tool for shaving wood.
Plain usually means simple or an expanse of lowland.
The words plane and plain have several meanings. Unfortunately, both have a meaning relating to flatness, and this is often the source of confusion.
PlainThe word plain has several meanings:
Simple (i.e., not elaborate).
- a plain girl
- a plain cake
- a plain colour
- It is plain to see.
- It seems quite plain to me.
Plain is an adjective in these examples. An expanse of level and low land.
- The Russian Plain.
- I joined the Chinese farmers as they attempted to drive the yaks across the plain in western China.
PlaneThe word plane has several meanings:
- What time is your plane?
A flat surface (especially in mathematics) .
- In a 3D space, a plane can be defined by specifying a point and a normal vector to the plane. Also means a level (usually figurative).
- I was hoping for a conversion on a higher plane.
Also the verb to plane (i.e., to shape wood).
- Can you plane a few inches off the top of the door?
car hit the puddle and planed straight into the back of the lorry.
(also known as to aquaplane)
Quick TestSelect the correct version:
Planes Are above GroundConfusion arises mostly between plain meaning expanse of lowland and plane meaning a flat surface or a level.
A plain (lowland) is always on the ground. A plane (a surface or a level) is nearly always above the ground...like an airplane.
Therefore, if it's above the ground, it's almost certainly plane.