Difference between Knowledge and Understanding | Knowledge vs Understanding

Suppose when you hear the statement “Do you have an understanding about the concept?” and “Did you have any knowledge about it?” what do you think? Do both statements mean the same thing? Most people think they mean the same thing, but that’s not true. Both these words have entirely different meanings. The article will make sure that students understand the difference between these terms and do not use them in the wrong context in the future.

Not only these terms but there are plenty of words present in the English Language which students find hard to understand and use out of context. So it’s advisable that when students are using such easily confusing words, they look up whether those words are synonyms or can be used interchangeably or not. Once they clarify this, it will be easy for them to use those words in sentences correctly. This article will walk students through the following points that will help them understand the difference between the words ‘knowledge’ and ‘understanding’.

Table Summarising the Difference between Knowledge and Understanding

Knowledge

Understanding

Meaning

The word knowledge refers to skills/information/facts that one gathers through education or experience.

The word understanding refers to the ability of someone to understand something. It also refers to the compassionate feeling towards someone.

Usage

It is used as Noun.

It is used as Noun and Adjective.

Example

John always had a thirst for knowledge.

Do you have a basic understanding of equations?

This table shows that ‘knowledge’ and ‘understanding’ can’t be treated as synonymous and can’t be used interchangeably. Students who previously got confused while using these words can now use them correctly in the sentence. Once students get familiar with this, it becomes easy for them to use.

The Difference between Knowledge and Understanding – Meaning

If you conduct a survey about whether the words ‘knowledge’ and ‘understanding’ are the same or not, you’ll be surprised to see that most people think they are the same. But on the contrary, these two terms have entirely different meanings. The word ‘knowledge’ refers to the facts/skills/information that one gathers/acquires through education or experience. The word ‘knowledge’ is used as a noun. For example, “Sheldon had prior knowledge about Newton’s Laws of Motion.” Whereas the word ‘understanding’, when used as a noun, refers to the ability of someone to grasp something. On the other hand, when ‘understanding’ is used as an adjective, it means someone has the ability to empathise with someone. Once students understand this difference, it will be easier for them to use these words in sentences without making any mistakes.

Example of Knowledge and Understanding

The following example will help students understand the words ‘knowledge’ and ‘understanding’.

Understanding – i) Mr Patrick was able to clear the basic understanding among students about addition and subtraction. (noun)

ii) Mrs Peterson is a very understanding young lady. (adjective)

Knowledge – Steve didn’t have any prior knowledge about the work, yet he performed well. (noun)

Once students understand the difference between the words ‘knowledge’ and ‘understanding’, they can easily apply them in the proper context.

Knowledge and Understanding – Conclusion

In conclusion, the words ‘knowledge’ and ‘understanding’ aren’t synonymous and can’t be used interchangeably. This article points out the difference between these two commonly confused words and helps students to use them correctly. BYJU’S offers various articles on many such ‘differences between two words’ that people often get confused with.

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