Difference Between
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Ideal vs. Real: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Updated on February 4, 2024
'Ideal' refers to a perfect or most suitable standard or concept, often hypothetical, while 'Real' pertains to what actually exists or happens, not imagined or supposed.
Ideal vs. Real

Key Differences

The word 'Ideal' relates to concepts, standards, or conditions considered perfect or most desirable, which may not always be attainable or practical. 'Real,' in contrast, refers to what exists in reality, encompassing actual events, objects, or experiences as they are, not as one might wish them to be.
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'Ideal' often embodies aspirations, goals, or benchmarks of excellence that serve as a guide or inspiration. It represents an optimized scenario. On the other hand, 'Real' encompasses the true state of affairs, grounded in factual existence or occurrence, which can be verified or experienced.
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The 'Ideal' is typically associated with a sense of perfection or an optimized condition free from flaws or defects. Conversely, 'Real' accepts the presence of imperfections and acknowledges the complexity and often the unpredictability of actual existence.
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'Ideal' is more abstract, representing concepts or qualities that are often theoretical or not physically tangible. 'Real,' however, is concrete and observable, relating to the physical world and its inherent realities.
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In a philosophical context, 'Ideal' pertains to theories and principles that envision a perfect model or scenario. 'Real,' in practical terms, aligns with empirical evidence, practicality, and the tangible aspects of life and existence.
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Comparison Chart

Nature

Conceptual, theoretical
Tangible, factual
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Relation to Perfection

Represents perfection or optimal state
Represents actual state, with flaws
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Tangibility

Often abstract or hypothetical
Concrete and observable
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Purpose

Serves as a guide or inspiration
Describes actual existence or event
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Application

Used in aspirational or idealistic contexts
Used in practical, real-world contexts
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Ideal and Real Definitions

Ideal

Representing the best possible standard.
The ideal candidate for the job will have five years of experience.
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Real

Existing or occurring in reality.
The real effects of climate change are visible now.
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Ideal

A scenario or condition that is most desirable.
An ideal vacation for me would be two weeks in Hawaii.
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Real

Not artificial or imitation.
The necklace was made of real gold.
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Ideal

A principle or value regarded as perfectly desirable.
Justice is an ideal that many strive to achieve.
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Real

Physically existing or able to be touched.
The mountains in the distance looked surreal, but they were very real.
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Ideal

A conception of something in its absolute perfection
The ideal of national unity.
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Real

Being or occurring in fact or actuality; having verifiable existence
Real objects.
A real illness.
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Ideal

One that is regarded as a standard or model of perfection or excellence
The restaurant is considered the ideal in fine dining.
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Real

True and actual; not imaginary, alleged, or ideal
Real people, not ghosts.
A film based on real life.
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Ideal

An ultimate or worthy object of endeavor; a goal
"those who regarded even a rhetorical commitment to the ideal of disarmament as irresponsibly utopian" (James Carroll).
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Real

Of or founded on practical matters and concerns
A recent graduate experiencing the real world for the first time.
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Ideal

Conforming to a standard of perfection or excellence; perfect or highly satisfactory
An ideal work environment.
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Real

Genuine and authentic; not artificial or spurious
Real mink.
Real humility.
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Ideal

Existing only in the mind; imaginary
An ideal world where everything works out fine.
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Real

Being no less than what is stated; worthy of the name
A real friend.
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Ideal

Lacking practicality or the possibility of realization
An ideal notion of how businesses are run.
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Real

Free of pretense, falsehood, or affectation
Tourists hoping for a real experience on the guided tour.
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Ideal

Existing as an archetype or pattern, especially as a Platonic idea or perception
The ideal forms.
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Real

Not to be taken lightly; serious
In real trouble.
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Ideal

Of or relating to idealism.
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Real

(Philosophy) Existing objectively in the world regardless of subjectivity or conventions of thought or language.
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Ideal

Optimal; being the best possibility.
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Real

Relating to, being, or having value reckoned by actual purchasing power
Real income.
Real growth.
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Ideal

Perfect, flawless, having no defects.
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Real

(Physics) Of, relating to, or being an image formed by light rays that converge in space.
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Ideal

Pertaining to ideas, or to a given idea.
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Real

(Mathematics) Of, relating to, or being a real number.
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Ideal

Existing only in the mind; conceptual, imaginary.
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Real

(Law) Of or relating to stationary or fixed property, such as buildings or land.
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Ideal

Teaching or relating to the doctrine of idealism.
The ideal theory or philosophy
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Real

Very
I'm real sorry about that.
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Ideal

(mathematics) Not actually present, but considered as present when limits at infinity are included.
Ideal point
An ideal triangle in the hyperbolic disk is one bounded by three geodesics that meet precisely on the circle.
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Real

A thing or whole having actual existence. Often used with the
Theories beyond the realm of the real.
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Ideal

A perfect standard of beauty, intellect etc., or a standard of excellence to aim at.
Ideals are like stars; you will not succeed in touching them with your hands. But like the seafaring man on the desert of waters, you choose them as your guides, and following them you will reach your destiny - Carl Schurz
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Real

(Mathematics) A real number.
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Ideal

A subring closed under multiplication by its containing ring.
Let \mathbb{Z} be the ring of integers and let 2\mathbb{Z} be its ideal of even integers. Then the quotient ring \mathbb{Z} / 2\mathbb{Z} is a Boolean ring.
The product of two ideals \mathfrak{a} and \mathfrak{b} is an ideal \mathfrak{a b} which is a subset of the intersection of \mathfrak{a} and \mathfrak{b}. This should help to understand why maximal ideals are prime ideals. Likewise, the union of \mathfrak{a} and \mathfrak{b} is a subset of \mathfrak{a + b}.
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Real

A silver coin formerly used in Spain and Latin America.
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Ideal

A non-empty lower set (of a partially ordered set) which is closed under binary suprema (a.k.a. joins).
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Real

A unit of currency formerly used in Portugal.
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Ideal

(set theory) A collection of sets, considered small or negligible, such that every subset of each member and the union of any two members are also members of the collection.
Formally, an ideal I of a given set X is a nonempty subset of the powerset \mathcal{P}(X) such that: (1)\ \emptyset \in I, (2)\ A \in I \and B \subseteq A\implies B\in I and (3)\ A,B \in I\implies A\cup B \in I.
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Real

See Table at currency.
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Ideal

A Lie subalgebra (subspace that is closed under the Lie bracket) 𝖍 of a given Lie algebra 𝖌 such that the Lie bracket [𝖌,𝖍] is a subset of 𝖍.
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Real

True, genuine, not merely nominal or apparent.
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Ideal

(algebra) A subsemigroup with the property that if any semigroup element outside of it is added to any one of its members, the result must lie outside of it.
The set of natural numbers with multiplication as the monoid operation (instead of addition) has multiplicative ideals, such as, for example, the set {1, 3, 9, 27, 81, ...}. If any member of it is multiplied by a number which is not a power of 3 then the result will not be a power of three.
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Real

Genuine, not artificial, counterfeit, or fake.
This is real leather.
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Ideal

Existing in idea or thought; conceptional; intellectual; mental; as, ideal knowledge.
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Real

Genuine, unfeigned, sincere.
These are real tears!
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Ideal

Reaching an imaginary standard of excellence; fit for a model; faultless; as, ideal beauty.
There will always be a wide interval between practical and ideal excellence.
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Real

Actually being, existing, or occurring; not fictitious or imaginary.
A description of real life
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Ideal

Existing in fancy or imagination only; visionary; unreal.
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Real

That has objective, physical existence.
No one has ever seen a real unicorn.
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Ideal

Teaching the doctrine of idealism; as, the ideal theory or philosophy.
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Real

(economics) Having been adjusted to remove the effects of inflation; measured in purchasing power contrast nominal.
My dad calculated my family's real consumption per month.
What is the real GNP of this polity?
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Ideal

Imaginary.
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Real

(economics) Relating to the result of the actions of rational agents; relating to neoclassical economic models as opposed to Keynesian models.
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Ideal

A mental conception regarded as a standard of perfection; a model of excellence, beauty, etc.
The ideal is to be attained by selecting and assembling in one whole the beauties and perfections which are usually seen in different individuals, excluding everything defective or unseemly, so as to form a type or model of the species. Thus, the Apollo Belvedere is the ideal of the beauty and proportion of the human frame.
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Real

Being either a rational number, or the limit of a convergent infinite sequence of rational numbers: being one of a set of numbers with a one-to-one correspondence to the points on a line.
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Ideal

The idea of something that is perfect; something that one hopes to attain
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Real

(legal) Relating to immovable tangible property.
Real estate;
Real property
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Ideal

Model of excellence or perfection of a kind; one having no equal
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Real

Absolute, complete, utter.
This is a real problem.
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Ideal

Conforming to an ultimate standard of perfection or excellence; embodying an ideal
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Real

(slang) Signifying meritorious qualities or actions especially as regard the enjoyment of life, prowess at sports, or success wooing potential partners.
I'm keeping it real.
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Ideal

Constituting or existing only in the form of an idea or mental image or conception;
A poem or essay may be typical of its period in idea or ideal content
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Real

Really, very.
When I told him the truth, he got real mad.
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Ideal

Of or relating to the philosophical doctrine of the reality of ideas
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Real

A commodity; see realty.
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Ideal

A goal or objective pursued as the ultimate aim.
Achieving a balanced work-life is my ideal.
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Real

(grammar) One of the three genders that the common gender can be separated into in the Scandinavian languages.
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Ideal

A situation imagined as the best possible one.
In an ideal world, there would be no poverty.
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Real

(mathematics) A real number.
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Real

(obsolete) A realist.
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Real

Former unit of currency of Spain and Spain's colonies.
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Real

A coin worth one real.
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Real

A unit of currency used in Portugal and its colonies from 1430 until 1911, and in Brazil from 1790 until 1942.
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Real

A coin worth one real.
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Real

A unit of currency used in Brazil since 1994. Symbol: R$.
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Real

A coin worth one real.
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Real

A former small Spanish silver coin; also, a denomination of money of account, formerly the unit of the Spanish monetary system.
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Real

A realist.
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Real

Royal; regal; kingly.
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Real

Actually being or existing; not fictitious or imaginary; as, a description of real life.
Whereat I waked, and foundBefore mine eyes all real, as the dreamHad lively shadowed.
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Real

True; genuine; not artificial, counterfeit, or factitious; often opposed to ostensible; as, the real reason; real Madeira wine; real ginger.
Whose perfection far excelledHers in all real dignity.
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Real

Relating to things, not to persons.
Many are perfect in men's humors that are not greatly capable of the real part of business.
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Real

Having an assignable arithmetical or numerical value or meaning; not imaginary.
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Real

Pertaining to things fixed, permanent, or immovable, as to lands and tenements; as, real property, in distinction from personal or movable property.
For he that but conceives a crime in thought,Contracts the danger of an actual fault.
Our simple ideas are all real; all agree to the reality of things.
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Real

Any rational or irrational number
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Real

An old small silver Spanish coin
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Real

Being or occurring in fact or actuality; having verified existence; not illusory;
Real objects
Real people; not ghosts
A film based on real life
A real illness
Real humility
Life is real! Life is earnest!
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Real

No less than what is stated; worthy of the name;
The real reason
Real war
A real friend
A real woman
Meat and potatoes--I call that a real meal
It's time he had a real job
It's no penny-ante job--he's making real money
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Real

Being or reflecting the essential or genuine character of something;
Her actual motive
A literal solitude like a desert
A genuine dilemma
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Real

Not synthetic or spurious; of real or natural origin;
Real mink
True gold
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Real

Not to be taken lightly;
Statistics demonstrate that poverty and unemployment are very real problems
To the man sleeping regularly in doorways homelessness is real
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Real

Possible to be treated as fact;
Tangible evidence
His brief time as Prime Minister brought few real benefits to the poor
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Real

Being value measured in terms of purchasing power;
Real prices
Real income
Real wages
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Real

Having substance or capable of being treated as fact; not imaginary;
The substantial world
A mere dream, neither substantial nor practical
Most ponderous and substantial things
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Real

(of property) fixed or immovable;
Real property consists of land and buildings; real estate
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Real

Coinciding with reality;
Perceptual error...has a surprising resemblance to veridical perception
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Real

Founded on practical matters;
A recent graduate experiencing the real world for the first time
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Real

Used as intensifiers; `real' is sometimes used informally for `really'; `rattling' is informal;
She was very gifted
He played very well
A really enjoyable evening
I'm real sorry about it
A rattling good yarn
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Real

Based on practical or factual circumstances.
We need to find a real solution to this problem.
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Real

A sincere or heartfelt experience or emotion.
Her joy at the news was real.
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Repeatedly Asked Queries

How does 'ideal' differ from 'perfect'?

'Ideal' is a subjective concept of perfection, varying by individual or context.
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What is an 'ideal' situation?

An ideal situation is a hypothetical or desired scenario considered perfect.
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What does 'real' mean in everyday language?

In everyday language, real refers to what actually exists or happens.
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Can 'real' refer to authenticity?

Yes, like in 'real leather' or 'real emotions.'
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Can 'ideal' be achieved in reality?

While ideals are aspirational, they're not always achievable in the real world.
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Is 'real' always tangible?

Mostly, though it can also refer to genuine emotions or experiences.
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Can something be both 'ideal' and 'real'?

Rarely, as ideals are often more aspirational than practical.
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How is 'real' used in science?

In science, real pertains to empirical evidence and observable facts.
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Is 'ideal' always positive?

Generally, though it can be unrealistic or impractical.
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Is 'real' used in philosophical contexts?

Yes, especially in discussions about reality and existence.
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Is 'ideal' a relative term?

Yes, as it varies based on individual perspectives and contexts.
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How does 'ideal' relate to goals?

Ideals often represent ultimate goals or standards.
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Can 'ideal' change over time?

Yes, as ideals can evolve with changing values and knowledge.
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Is 'real' used in legal contexts?

Yes, to refer to factual or legally recognized circumstances.
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How does 'ideal' influence decision-making?

Ideals can guide decisions by providing aspirational benchmarks.
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Can 'real' be proven?

Yes, as it relates to verifiable facts or existence.
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Is 'real' subjective or objective?

Real is more objective, based on factual existence.
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Can a theory be 'ideal'?

Yes, if it represents a conceptually perfect scenario.
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Does 'ideal' have a practical application?

It's more aspirational, though it can inspire practical efforts.
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How do artists use the term 'real'?

Artists use 'real' to refer to realism or authentic expression.
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Shumaila Saeed
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Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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Absolute Privilege vs. Qualified PrivilegeAbsolute Privilege vs. Qualified Privilege
Shumaila SaeedShumaila Saeed
December 26, 2023
Absolute privilege is a complete defense against defamation claims, often used in legal or parliamentary contexts, while qualified privilege offers conditional protection, requiring the absence of malice.
Formal Assessment vs. Informal AssessmentFormal Assessment vs. Informal Assessment
Shumaila SaeedShumaila Saeed
December 25, 2023
Formal assessments are structured and standardized, while informal assessments are flexible and observational.
Cloudflare vs. Google DNSCloudflare vs. Google DNS
Shumaila SaeedShumaila Saeed
January 7, 2024
Cloudflare DNS prioritizes privacy and speed, whereas Google DNS emphasizes reliability and global availability.
Travel Agent vs. Tour OperatorTravel Agent vs. Tour Operator
Shumaila SaeedShumaila Saeed
December 25, 2023
A travel agent is a professional who arranges travel plans for individuals, while a tour operator designs and manages complete travel packages.
Difference vs. DifferentDifference vs. Different
Shumaila SaeedShumaila Saeed
December 25, 2023
"Difference" is a noun referring to a distinct separation or dissimilarity between things, while "Different" is an adjective describing distinct or unlike qualities in comparison.
Gorilla Glass 3 vs. Gorilla Glass 5Gorilla Glass 3 vs. Gorilla Glass 5
Shumaila SaeedShumaila Saeed
January 1, 2024
Gorilla Glass 3 offers improved scratch resistance and durability compared to its predecessors, while Gorilla Glass 5 focuses on enhanced drop protection and toughness.
Fast Food vs. Traditional FoodFast Food vs. Traditional Food
Shumaila SaeedShumaila Saeed
December 25, 2023
Fast Food is quick, convenient, and often pre-prepared, while Traditional Food emphasizes cultural recipes, longer preparation times, and home cooking.
Sausage vs. SmokieSausage vs. Smokie
Shumaila SaeedShumaila Saeed
December 25, 2023
A sausage is a type of meat product usually made from ground meat, often pork, beef, or poultry, while a smokie is a specific type of smoked sausage.
Japanese Eyes vs. Chinese EyesJapanese Eyes vs. Chinese Eyes
Shumaila SaeedShumaila Saeed
December 25, 2023
Japanese Eyes and Chinese Eyes refer to linguistic structures in Japanese and Chinese respectively, each reflecting unique aspects of grammar and syntax.
Acetylcysteine vs. N-AcetylcysteineAcetylcysteine vs. N-Acetylcysteine
Shumaila SaeedShumaila Saeed
December 25, 2023
Acetylcysteine and N-Acetylcysteine are terms often used interchangeably to refer to a medication used for acetaminophen overdose and mucus reduction.
Dimethicone vs. SimethiconeDimethicone vs. Simethicone
Shumaila SaeedShumaila Saeed
December 25, 2023
Dimethicone is a silicone-based polymer used as a skin and hair conditioner, while Simethicone is a mixture of silicones for relieving gas in the digestive system.
Customs vs. TraditionsCustoms vs. Traditions
Shumaila SaeedShumaila Saeed
December 25, 2023
Customs are established practices in social behavior, while traditions are inherited beliefs and actions passed through generations.
Grand Opening vs. Soft OpeningGrand Opening vs. Soft Opening
Shumaila SaeedShumaila Saeed
December 25, 2023
A Grand Opening is a highly publicized and celebratory launch of a business or venue, while a Soft Opening is a more subdued trial opening, often with limited services or a smaller audience.
Hard Copy vs. Soft CopyHard Copy vs. Soft Copy
Shumaila SaeedShumaila Saeed
December 25, 2023
A Hard Copy is a physical version of a document or file, usually on paper, while a Soft Copy is a digital version of the document, stored electronically.
Internal Customers vs. External CustomersInternal Customers vs. External Customers
Shumaila SaeedShumaila Saeed
December 25, 2023
Internal Customers are employees or departments within a company who use its services, while External Customers are individuals or entities outside the company who purchase its products or services.
Manual Filing vs. E-FilingManual Filing vs. E-Filing
Shumaila SaeedShumaila Saeed
January 21, 2024
Manual Filing involves physically submitting documents, often in paper form. E-Filing is the process of submitting documents electronically, often through dedicated platforms or email.
Login vs. LogonLogin vs. Logon
Shumaila SaeedShumaila Saeed
December 25, 2023
"Login" and "Logon" are often used interchangeably to describe the process of gaining access to a computer system, but "login" can also refer to the credentials used for access.

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