Human or Humane?

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The Difference between "Human" and "Humane"

"Human" and "humane" are easy to confuse because of the inconsistency with pronunciation in English.
  • 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).
When writers are reminded how human and "humane" words are pronounced, the issue is usually resolved.
human or humane?

Human

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).

Example sentences with "human":
  • I believe that every human feels pleasure in doing good to another. (American statesman Thomas Jefferson)
  • To err is human, but to really foul things up you need a computer. (Biologist Paul R Ehrlich)
  • (Here, "human" is an adjective.)
The plural of "human" is "humans." It is not "humen." The word "Humen" (note the capital H) is a proper noun. It is the name of a Chinese coastal town on the South China Sea.

Humane

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

Example sentences with "humane"
  • This inhuman world has to become more humane. (Author Friedrich Durrenmatt)
  • In my view, there is no such thing as humane meat. (Animal welfarist Ingrid Newkirk)

Common Terms with "Human" and "Humane"

Terms with "human":
  • human anatomy
  • human biology
  • human development
  • human factors
  • human genome
  • human rights
  • human resources
  • human sciences
  • to be human
  • (The term "to be human" carries the connotation of being imperfect, e.g., "I am only human.")
Terms with "humane":
  • humane treatment
  • humane method
  • humane euthanasia
  • humane killing
  • humane trap
Ready for the Test?
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See Also

adverse or averse? affect or effect? Ms., Miss, or Mrs? avenge or revenge? bare or bear? complement or compliment? dependant or dependent? discreet or discrete? disinterested or uninterested? e.g. or i.e.? envy or jealousy? imply or infer? its or it's? material or materiel? poisonous or venomous? practice or practise? principal or principle? tenant or tenet? who's or whose? What are adjectives? What are nouns? List of easily confused words