# Exactly vs. Identical — What's the Difference?

Edited by Tayyaba Rehman — By Fiza Rafique — Updated on May 17, 2024

**"Exactly" refers to something being precise or accurate, whereas "identical" means two or more things are the same in every detail.**

## Difference Between Exactly and Identical

### Table of Contents

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## Key Differences

"Exactly" is an adverb used to indicate precision or accuracy in detail or amount. For instance, you might say, "The measurement is exactly 5 inches," emphasizing precision in measurement. "Identical," on the other hand, is an adjective that describes two or more things that are the same in every way. For example, "The twins wore identical outfits," indicating that the outfits are completely the same.

In language usage, "exactly" emphasizes the correctness or specificity of a statement. When someone says, "That's exactly what I meant," they stress the accuracy of their statement. Conversely, "identical" focuses on the sameness or uniformity of objects or individuals. When we say, "These two documents are identical," we mean there are no differences between them.

"Exactly" can modify verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs, enhancing the degree of accuracy or specificity. For example, "She arrived exactly on time." "Identical" cannot be used this way as it strictly describes the nature of nouns, such as "identical rooms."

In mathematics and science, "exactly" often qualifies calculations or measurements, ensuring no deviation from what is stated. Whereas "identical" is used to describe entities that are indistinguishable from one another in all respects, such as "identical chemical compounds."

When discussing plans or instructions, "exactly" can be used to ensure precise adherence to details. For instance, "Follow the recipe exactly." Meanwhile, "identical" might be used to compare results or outputs, like "The two cakes are identical in taste and appearance."

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## Comparison Chart

### Part of Speech

Adverb

Adjective

### Definition

Precisely, accurately

Exactly the same in every detail

### Usage Example

"She arrived exactly at noon."

"The twins wore identical outfits."

### Context

Emphasizes precision or accuracy

Emphasizes sameness or uniformity

### Application

Modifies verbs, adjectives, adverbs

Describes nouns

## Compare with Definitions

#### Exactly

In an exact manner, without any deviation.

Follow the instructions exactly.

#### Identical

Involving complete agreement.

Their opinions were identical.

#### Exactly

Precisely, with complete accuracy.

The meeting started exactly at 10 AM.

#### Identical

Corresponding in every respect.

The identical twins had identical fingerprints.

#### Exactly

To indicate agreement.

Exactly, that's the point.

#### Identical

Exactly alike.

They bought identical cars.

#### Exactly

Used for emphasis to mean 'just'.

That's exactly what I wanted to hear.

#### Identical

Exactly equal or equivalent.

Both copies of the document are identical.

#### Exactly

In an exact manner; accurately.

#### Identical

Being the same in every detail.

The two keys are identical.

#### Exactly

In all respects; just

Do exactly as you please.

#### Identical

Being the same

Another orator who used the senator's identical words.

#### Exactly

As you say. Used to indicate agreement.

#### Identical

Exactly equal and alike

Your car is identical to mine. Are the fingerprints at the crime scene identical with those of the accused?.

#### Exactly

(manner) Without approximation; precisely.

Measure exactly so we can be sure it is right.

The edge is not exactly straight.

He divided the coins exactly in half.

#### Identical

(Biology) Of or relating to a twin or twins developed from the same fertilized ovum and having the same genetic makeup and closely similar appearance; monozygotic.

#### Exactly

(focus) Precisely, used to provide emphasis.

He did it that way exactly to prove the point.

#### Identical

(not comparable) Bearing full likeness by having precisely the same set of characteristics; indistinguishable.

#### Exactly

Signifies agreement or recognition.

So you're saying that we have only three days left? — Yes, exactly!

#### Identical

(not comparable) Not different or other; not another or others; not different as regards self; selfsame; numerically identical.

#### Exactly

In an exact manner; precisely according to a rule, standard, or fact; accurately; strictly; correctly; nicely.

His enemies were pleased, for he had acted exactly as their interests required.

#### Identical

Of twins, sharing the same genetic code.

#### Exactly

Indicating exactness or preciseness;

He was doing precisely (or exactly) what she had told him to do

It was just as he said--the jewel was gone

It has just enough salt

#### Identical

Exactly equivalent.

#### Exactly

Just as it should be;

`Precisely, my lord,' he said

#### Identical

Approximating or approaching exact equivalence.

#### Exactly

In a precise manner;

She always expressed herself precisely

#### Identical

Something which has exactly the same properties as something else.

#### Exactly

To the very point or degree.

The recipe calls for exactly one teaspoon of salt.

#### Identical

An identical twin.

#### Identical

The same; the selfsame; the very same; not different; as, the identical person or thing.

I can not remember a thing that happened a year ago, without a conviction . . . that I, the same identical person who now remember that event, did then exist.

#### Identical

Uttering sameness or the same truth; expressing in the predicate what is given, or obviously implied, in the subject; tautological.

When you say body is solid, I say that you make an identical proposition, because it is impossible to have the idea of body without that of solidity.

#### Identical

Exactly alike; incapable of being perceived as different;

Rows of identical houses

Cars identical except for their license plates

They wore indistinguishable hats

#### Identical

Being the exact same one; not any other:;

This is the identical room we stayed in before

The themes of his stories are one and the same

Saw the selfsame quotation in two newspapers

On this very spot

The very thing he said yesterday

The very man I want to see

#### Identical

(of twins) derived from a single egg or ovum;

Identical twins are monovular

#### Identical

Having properties with uniform values along all axes

#### Identical

Coinciding exactly when superimposed;

Identical triangles

## Common Curiosities

#### Is "exactly" used to show emphasis?

Yes, "exactly" can emphasize precision or agreement.

#### Can "exactly" modify nouns?

No, "exactly" typically modifies verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs.

#### Can "exactly" be used in time expressions?

Yes, such as "exactly at noon."

#### Can "exactly" indicate agreement?

Yes, e.g., "Exactly, that's what I mean."

#### What does "exactly" mean?

"Exactly" means with complete accuracy or precision.

#### Is "identical" used in science?

Yes, to describe indistinguishable entities, e.g., "identical molecules."

#### What does "identical" mean?

"Identical" means being the same in every detail.

#### Is "identical" used in everyday conversation?

Yes, often to describe things that are completely the same.

#### Can "identical" describe actions?

No, "identical" describes nouns that are the same in every way.

#### Does "identical" apply to people?

Yes, like "identical twins."

#### Can "exactly" be used in measurements?

Yes, e.g., "exactly 5 inches."

#### Does "identical" imply similarity or sameness?

"Identical" implies complete sameness, not just similarity.

#### Does "exactly" modify degrees of comparison?

No, it emphasizes precision, not comparison degrees.

#### Is "identical" synonymous with "similar"?

No, "identical" means the same, whereas "similar" means nearly the same.

#### Can "exactly" stress the importance of instructions?

Yes, e.g., "Follow the steps exactly."

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Written by

Fiza RafiqueFiza Rafique is a skilled content writer at AskDifference.com, where she meticulously refines and enhances written pieces. Drawing from her vast editorial expertise, Fiza ensures clarity, accuracy, and precision in every article. Passionate about language, she continually seeks to elevate the quality of content for readers worldwide.

Edited by

Tayyaba RehmanTayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to askdifference.com. As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.