Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Essential and Necessary

Essential vs Necessary

“Essential” and “necessary” are words which are used in different circumstances. “Essential” is “something without which we cannot do” and “necessary” is “something which is important but we can do without it.”

The word “essential” is used as an adjective and a noun. Let’s understand the meaning with the help of dictionary meanings and examples.
Essential used as an adjective

“Essential” means “absolutely necessary”; it also means “indispensable.” For example:

It is essential for all defense personnel to be physically fit.

“Essential” means “constituting or pertaining to the essence of something.” For example:

Motherhood is the essence of being a woman.

“Essential” means “containing a plant or drug essence.”
“Essential” means “something which is natural and spontaneous.” For example:

Essential nutrients required by the body.
Essential used as a noun

“Essential” means “a necessary element, indispensable, basic or chief point.” For example: One must pay attention to the essentials of a book rather than on other details.

The word “essential” can be used in place of “absolutely necessary.” When we use “absolutely necessary,” it makes the requirement of something as essential without which some particular thing cannot be achieved. The main characteristic of the word “essential” is the utmost necessity linked with it, something without which one cannot pertain, something for which a particular thing is not just a mere requirement or important but is indispensable.

The word “necessary” is used as an adjective and as a noun. Let’s take a look at the dictionary meanings and some examples to make the meaning more clear.
Necessary used as an adjective

“Indispensable, being essential.” For example:

Singing and dancing is a necessary part of a musical.

“Existing due to necessity or happening due to necessity.” For example:

Due to heavy rains, we made necessary changes to our program.

“Not free, acting on compulsion, involuntary.”

Necessary used as a noun

“Something which is requisite or necessary.” For example:

Food is a necessity of life; one cannot survive without it.
“Necessary” is also used when referring to some rule or law. For example:

It is necessary to wear the seat belt while driving. It is necessary to follow the road rules while driving.


1.“Necessary” and “essential” are used to show an indispensable thing or point towards a thing which is an absolute must. “Essential” refers to things “without which one cannot do” whereas, “necessary” refers to “things which cannot be avoided but can be done without.”
2.“Necessary” is used to refer to law whereas the word “essential” is not used for describing laws.

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  1. very helpful!

  2. “Essential” means “constituting or pertaining to the essence of something.” For example:

    Motherhood is the essence of being a woman.

    This is kind of a gross example to use. I would consider changing this to something that doesn’t have a male-centered view of women and their essence. Gross!

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