Difference Between Living and Non-living Things (With Table)

Earth is the only planet which has life on it, life does not only consist of human beings or animals but there are several other components as well which constitutes life on earth.

In a regular day to day life, numerous things are visible which do not have a life but still, they are important for the existence of human beings or animals, the balance of nature has been created in such a way that all things and people are interconnected.

Nature contains everything including human beings,  animals, plants, rivers, soil, mountains, oceans, air, etc. And everything has its importance in nature, there is no substitute for these things, everything plays some of the other roles in maintaining a balance of nature.

Everything around which is present on earth, visible or invisible tangent or in tangent are classified in two main categories: those are living and nonliving things.

Living vs Non-living Things

The difference between living things and non-living things is that non-living things do not have a life but living things have life in them, for example, human beings. The importance of non-living things is no less than living things.

Comparison Table Between Living and Non-living Things

Parameters of ComparisonLiving thingsNon-living things
DefinitionThings which possess life.Things which do not possess life.
ExamplesHuman beings, animals, plants,etc..Rocks, soil, pencil, books, mobile phones, etc..
Requirement for survivalFood, water, and oxygenDoes not require anything.
Basic unitCellAtom
Growth processGrows naturallyGrows with the process of accretion. 

What is a Living thing?

Living things are anything that responds, moves, stimuli, grows, reproduces and are dependent on the environment. Most of the living things need water, food, oxygen and air to survive.   

Living things include profoundly, animals, human beings, plants or trees. The nature of living things might not be similar to each other but the basic requirements like water, food and air are the same. 

Human beings are the most advanced species, on the other hand, animals are less advanced species as compared to humans and plants have the basic needs like food, water and air to survive. The behaviour of all living things is different from each other, for example, humans can talk but animals cannot, animals can walk but plants cannot walk.   

All of them are different from each other but still considered living things. They are made up of microscopic structures called cells. They experience metabolism, which includes anabolic and catabolic reactions.

Living things grow and mature through different stages of developments. They need nutrition for survival which involves engulfing and digesting food. Some of the living things are autotrophic, which means they can harness the sun’s energy to make their food. The digested food is eliminated from the body through the process of excretion.

Living things can be single cellular or multicellular, in single cellular, the organism is made up of one cell for example amoeba, etc., multicellular organisms are made of more than one cell, for example, human beings, etc..

What is a Non-living Thing?

Non-living things are things which do not have life in them, that is they are not alive like living things. They do not have characteristics of living things like movement, need for food, air, or water.   

Non-living things can be tangible or intangible, they can be movable or stationary. They do not respire, digest, eat, or excrete. They are created and destroyed by external forces. For example: cycle, pen, pencil, books, etc..

Most of the non-living things are made by living things and are created by living things for their activities. They do not possess cells rather they have atoms and molecules. They do not have Metabolism because they do not have Protoplasm.

Non-living things do not die as they do not possess life like living things. They do not have a defined structure and can be moulded easily in other substances. Non-living things grow by accretion, that is they can be grown by external forces through adding on materials. Process of reproduction is missing in non-living things.

They can not respond to stimuli like living things,  as they do not have sense organs and cannot respond to things like human beings, neither can they make their food rather their existence is influenced by external forces.

Non-living things are important for the environment and nature as they help information of a suitable environment for living things for example plants which are a living thing cannot grow without soil which is a non-living thing. Thus, their presence cannot be neglected just because they do not possess life.  their contribution is equally important.

Differences Between Living Things and Non-living Things

  1. Living things have life on the other hand non-living things do not possess life.
  2. Living things can grow or create a new one through the process of reproduction, but non-living things grow through accretion.
  3. Living things can be single cellular or multicellular on contrary non-living things do not possess cells rather they are made up of atoms or molecules.
  4. Living things have metabolism and digestive systems whereas non-living things due to lack of Protoplasm do not have a metabolism.
  5. Living things need food, water, air, and oxygen for survival. On the other hand non-living things do not need anything like food, water, or oxygen.
  6. Living things respire to maintain their life on the other hand non-living things do not have respiratory systems to maintain their life. 


Living things and nonliving things are important as an amalgamation for the existence of nature or environment.

Both of them are equally important for each other’s existence.

Living things and nonliving things are dependent on each other for some or the other things which creates a balance in nature.


  1. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02643299208252056
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0010945208708311