Difference Between Place and Location

The words, location and place, can be confused for each other very well. If someone has to find a difference between these two terms, they can get lost in the loop as both of their meanings are almost similar to each other.


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But somehow, if we look at the terms closely, we can find many differences.

Place vs Location

The difference between place and location is that while the former is used with a generic tone, the latter involves particularity and specificity. However, a place cannot always indicate some physical space, whereas location is related to a physical piece of land. Thus, it can be said that the two terms are completely different from each other.

Place vs Location

A place can be defined as literally as well as metaphorically. It can be referred to as a physical space, a situation or even a position of anything.

Thus, this single word has many connotations. It can be a passage of a book, the state of one’s mind, to put someone in a specific position, to make a bet or recruit someone for a job.

On the other hand, the word location points to a specific place or a physical piece of land. Its meaning cannot be taken on a metaphorical level.

Thus, location is a place that can be spotted or located. A location can be one’s house, office, school, space centre or even a restaurant.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonPlaceLocation
DefinitionThe word ‘place’ refers to physical space as well as a situation and a mental state of mind.The word ‘location’ refers to a place in its physical sense.
TypesPlaces can be of many types.Location is of two types- absolute and relative
Can it be locatedIt can be located if it is a physical space. But it cannot be located if it is referring to something figuratively.Yes.
Levels of meaningThe place has two layers of meaning- literal and metaphorical.Location is only on the literal level.
UseBroader senseNarrow way

What is Place?

The word ‘place’ can be defined as a spot or space as the physical sense of the word. It may refer to a building, a town, a fortress, a church or an open space.

But its meaning is not restricted to that. It can refer to a situation, or circumstance one has been placed into.

A place can also be a person’s present state of mind or even the situation he or she is going through. In a geographical sense, one can refer to land as a place when the factors or characteristics of it make it natural or human-made.

Thus, the place has no specific limitation attached to it. Usually, the word ‘place’ refers to a building, house or dwelling place, a town or village. If someone says, “Let’s go to a movie”, he or she might be referring to going to a theatre to watch a movie.

However, a place can also mean the position a number is holding in the number system. On the other hand, if someone says, “ If you were in my place, you would have surely got my point”, he or she does not refer to the place he or she is standing.

They refer to their mental state of being. Thus, the meaning of the word ‘place’ can only be understood when placed in a sentence.

What is Location?

As compared to the word ‘place’, location has a specific meaning. It can be defined as somewhere a place is. Thus, the location is very specific and particular.

Like a place, it does not have too many connotations. It is singularly associated with a physical space, not the state of someone’s mind.

There are two kinds of location -absolute and relative. Absolute location is the exact location of a place. It is usually measured by using longitude and latitudes.

Longitudes are imaginary lines that run north and south. These lines meet at the North and South Poles. Longitude lines are often referred to as indicators.

Latitude lines, on the other hand, are imaginary lines that run east and west. These lines are parallel and never touch another latitude line.

Latitude lines are sometimes referred to as parallels. Relative location describes or compares the location of two places. It is measured by using a compass. 

Location means a particular place, position or area. It also indicates the fact that it is something that can be traced. Unlike place, its meaning cannot be implied.

It has to be taken literally. Thus, it can be said that the location is used in a narrow sense as compared to place.

Main Differences Between Place and Location

  1. While the word ‘place’ can refer to either a physical or mental space, the word ‘location’ is defined as a particular piece of land.
  2. The word ‘place’ covers a lot of meanings. Thus, it is used as a broader term. On the other hand, location means something specific.
  3. There can be many kinds of places – living place, position, a building, a circumstance. There are two types of location- absolute and relative.
  4. The word ‘place’ does not include any technical terms like longitude and latitude. But location involves coordinates as it is something that needs to be located.
  5. Location, on the other hand, never points towards a situation or the mental state of a person. But the word ‘place’ can refer to that.
Difference Between Place and Location


  1. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/14036090410021360
  2. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1470593113492992

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