Posted by: Jack Henry | April 7, 2017

Editor’s Corner: Perspective vs Prospective

Dear Editrix,

I’ve noticed folks using the words perspective and prospective incorrectly. Could you write something about these words so that people use them correctly?

Tired Talking in Texas

Dear Tired,

It would be my pleasure to review these words! Here are some shortened definitions from Merriam-Webster (in black) and my examples (in blue).

perspective (noun)

1: the technique of representing on a plane or curved surface the space relationships of natural objects as they appear to the eye

2: the interrelation in which parts of a subject are mentally viewed : the aspect of an object of thought from a particular standpoint : configuration

3: a visible scene; especially : one giving a distinctive impression of distance : vista

4: the appearance to the eye of objects in respect to their relative distance and positions

5: a perceptible appearance


· From the perspective at the top of the Empire State Building, everything looks tiny.

· I moved from across the room until I was almost nose-to-nose with Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus. Though the perspective was completely different from one end of the room to the other, Venus was consistently vibrant and beautiful.

prospective (adjective)

1a: likely or expected to be or become something specified in the future <a prospective mother><a prospective teacher><a prospective heir><showing homes to prospective buyers>

b: likely or expected to happen <She was so wrought up by her prospective loss that she could only think of rash, impossible, destructive things to do. — Theodore Dreiser, The Titan, 1914>

2: concerned with or relating to the future : effective in the future


· The prospective mothers practiced their breathing and soaking in tubs during their water birth class.

· To impress the prospective clients, the sales team dressed in their finest suits and served champagne and caviar for an afternoon snack.

Kara Church

Technical Editor, Advisory

619-542-6773 | Ext: 766773

Symitar Documentation Services

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