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Sergeant vs. Corporal: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Updated on December 25, 2023
"Sergeant is a higher military rank than Corporal, often a non-commissioned officer, while Corporal is a lower non-commissioned officer rank."
Sergeant vs. Corporal

Key Differences

Sergeants hold a higher rank in the military hierarchy compared to Corporals, often taking on more leadership and management responsibilities. Corporals, while also non-commissioned officers, usually have less authority and fewer responsibilities than Sergeants.
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In terms of experience and time in service, Sergeants typically have served longer and possess more field experience than Corporals. Corporals, on the other hand, are often seen as the first step into the non-commissioned officer (NCO) roles.
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Sergeants often act as middle-level leaders, responsible for a larger group of soldiers and more complex tasks, whereas Corporals are usually responsible for smaller teams or tasks.
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The role of a Sergeant can vary widely, including training and supervising soldiers, while a Corporal's role is often more focused on direct, hands-on tasks and lower-level leadership.
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In summary, the rank of Sergeant is a significant step above Corporal, with more responsibilities, leadership opportunities, and typically, a longer tenure in service.
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Comparison Chart

Rank

Higher military rank
Lower military rank
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Responsibilities

More leadership and management duties
Less authority, focused on specific tasks
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Experience

Often more experienced and longer in service
Less experienced, early NCO role
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Team Size

Manages larger groups
Oversees smaller teams
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Leadership Scope

Broader leadership role
More direct, hands-on leadership
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Sergeant and Corporal Definitions

Sergeant

A police officer ranking below a lieutenant.
Sergeant Miller took charge of the crime scene.
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Corporal

An officer in a military unit responsible for a small team.
The corporal trained the new recruits.
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Sergeant

A person holding a non-commissioned officer rank in other uniformed organizations.
The fire department's sergeant organized the team's response.
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Corporal

A rank signifying leadership potential in the military hierarchy.
He was promoted to corporal for his exemplary performance.
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Sergeant

A title used to address a non-commissioned officer.
Yes, Sergeant, I understand the orders.
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Corporal

A low-ranking non-commissioned officer in the armed forces.
Corporal Jones was in charge of the supply inventory.
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Sergeant

A noncommissioned rank in the US Army or Marine Corps that is above corporal and below staff sergeant.
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Corporal

The lowest non-commissioned officer rank in many military forces.
As a corporal, she led her team efficiently.
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Sergeant

Any of several ranks of noncommissioned officers in the US Army, Air Force, or Marine Corps
Master gunnery sergeant.
Staff sergeant.
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Corporal

Of or relating to the body.
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Sergeant

One who holds any of these ranks or a similar rank in another military organization.
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Oct 19, 2023

Corporal

A noncommissioned rank in the US Army that is above private first class and below sergeant.
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Oct 19, 2023

Sergeant

The rank of police officer next below a captain, lieutenant, or inspector.
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Oct 19, 2023

Corporal

A noncommissioned rank in the US Marine Corps that is above lance corporal and below sergeant.
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Sergeant

A police officer holding this rank.
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Corporal

One who holds either of these ranks or a similar rank in another military organization.
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Sergeant

A sergeant at arms.
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Corporal

A white linen cloth on which the consecrated elements are placed during the celebration of the Eucharist.
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Sergeant

(military) UK army rank with NATO code OR-6, senior to corporal and junior to warrant officer ranks.
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Oct 19, 2023

Corporal

(archaic) Having a physical, tangible body; material, corporeal.
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Oct 19, 2023

Sergeant

The highest rank of noncommissioned officer in some non-naval military forces and police.
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Oct 19, 2023

Corporal

Of or pertaining to the body, especially the human body; bodily.
Corporal punishment
Corporal suffering
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Sergeant

A lawyer of the highest rank, equivalent to the doctor of civil law.
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Corporal

(zoology) Pertaining to the body (the thorax and abdomen), as distinguished from the head, limbs and wings, etc.
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Oct 19, 2023

Sergeant

A title sometimes given to the servants of the sovereign.
Sergeant surgeon, i.e. a servant, or attendant, surgeon
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Corporal

(military) A non-commissioned officer army rank with NATO code OR-4. The rank below a sergeant but above a lance corporal and private.
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Oct 19, 2023

Sergeant

A fish, the cobia.
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Corporal

A non-commissioned officer rank in the police force, below a sergeant but above a private or patrolman.
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Sergeant

Any of various nymphalid butterflies of the genus Athyma; distinguished from the false sergeants.
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Corporal

A worker in charge of the wagonway, reporting to the deputy.
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Sergeant

A bailiff.
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Corporal

(ecclesiastical) The white linen cloth on which the elements of the Eucharist are placed; a communion cloth.
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Oct 19, 2023

Sergeant

A servant in monastic offices.
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Corporal

A noncommissioned officer, next below a sergeant. In the United States army he is the lowest noncommissioned officer in a company of infantry. He places and relieves sentinels.
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Sergeant

Formerly, in England, an officer nearly answering to the more modern bailiff of the hundred; also, an officer whose duty was to attend on the king, and on the lord high steward in court, to arrest traitors and other offenders. He is now called sergeant-at-arms, and two of these officers, by allowance of the sovereign, attend on the houses of Parliament (one for each house) to execute their commands, and another attends the Court Chancery.
The sergeant of the town of Rome them sought.
The magistrates sent the serjeant, saying, Let those men go.
This fell sergeant, Death,Is strict in his arrest.
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Corporal

A fine linen cloth, on which the sacred elements are consecrated in the eucharist, or with which they are covered; a communion cloth.
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Sergeant

In a company, battery, or troop, a noncommissioned officer next in rank above a corporal, whose duty is to instruct recruits in discipline, to form the ranks, etc.
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Oct 19, 2023

Corporal

Belonging or relating to the body; bodily.
Pillories and other corporal infections.
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Oct 19, 2023

Sergeant

A lawyer of the highest rank, answering to the doctor of the civil law; - called also serjeant at law.
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Corporal

Having a body or substance; not spiritual; material. In this sense now usually written corporeal.
A corporal heaven . . . .where the stare are.
What seemed corporal meltedAs breath into the wind.
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Sergeant

A title sometimes given to the servants of the sovereign; as, sergeant surgeon, that is, a servant, or attendant, surgeon.
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Corporal

A noncommissioned officer in the army or airforce or marines
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Sergeant

The cobia.
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Corporal

Affecting or characteristic of the body as opposed to the mind or spirit;
Bodily needs
A corporal defect
Corporeal suffering
A somatic symptom or somatic illness
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Sergeant

Any of several noncommissioned officer ranks in the army or air force or marines ranking above a corporal
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Oct 19, 2023

Corporal

Possessing or existing in bodily form;
What seemed corporal melted as breath into the wind
An incarnate spirit
`corporate' is an archaic term
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Sergeant

A lawman with the rank of sergeant
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Corporal

A title given to a police officer in some departments.
Corporal Smith directed traffic at the intersection.
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Sergeant

An English barrister of the highest rank
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Oct 19, 2023

Sergeant

A non-commissioned military officer ranking above a corporal.
The sergeant led the platoon through their drills.
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Sergeant

An officer responsible for maintaining order in a legislative assembly.
The sergeant-at-arms escorted the guest to the podium.
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Repeatedly Asked Queries

What is a Sergeant in the military?

A higher non-commissioned officer rank.
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Is Corporal a high rank?

It's a lower non-commissioned officer rank.
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Can a Sergeant command a platoon?

Yes, they often lead platoons.
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What duties does a Corporal have?

Leading small teams and specific tasks.
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How long does it take to become a Sergeant?

It varies, but usually requires several years of service.
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Can a Corporal be a squad leader?

Yes, they often lead squads.
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Do Sergeants have administrative roles?

Yes, they often handle administrative and leadership duties.
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Are Corporals involved in strategic planning?

They're more focused on tactical than strategic roles.
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Is a Corporal involved in training?

Yes, often in training and supervising a small team.
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What skills are important for a Corporal?

Leadership, tactical knowledge, and team management.
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What's the difference in pay between a Sergeant and Corporal?

Sergeants typically earn more than Corporals.
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Can a Sergeant be in charge of training?

Yes, they often oversee training programs.
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What's the role of a Corporal in police work?

Similar to military, they lead small teams and handle specific tasks.
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What is a Sergeant-at-Arms?

An officer responsible for maintaining order in legislative bodies.
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Can Corporals issue orders?

Yes, to the personnel under their command.
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What's a Sergeant's role in law enforcement?

They often supervise officers and manage operations.
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Do Sergeants work closely with officers?

Yes, they often bridge the gap between enlisted personnel and officers.
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How is a Sergeant's leadership style?

It's often more strategic and involves overseeing larger groups.
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Is a Sergeant's role the same in all military branches?

The basic role is similar, but specific duties can vary.
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Do Corporals have decision-making authority?

Yes, but usually at a more tactical level.
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Dec 07, 2023

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About Author
Shumaila Saeed
Written by
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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