Real vs Genuine


Both genuine and real can be used to describe something that is not fake. To learn when and how to use these adjectives, you must look at the contexts in which they are generally used.

Genuine is often used to describe artwork:

  • I thought I found a genuine Picasso, but it turned out to be a fake.
  • I’m sorry I broke your antique vase.
  • Don’t worry, it wasn’t genuine. It was just a copy.

It’s also used to describe honest, sincere people and their actions/feelings:

  • Jack feels genuinely sorry for what he has done.
  • He made a genuine attempt to make things better.

Real can be used when talking about things that are not imitations:

  • I’m not drinking that thing. It’s not even real milk.
  • Why are you smelling those flowers? They’re not real.
  • My jacket was very expensive. It’s real leather.

Also, for things that are not imagined:

  • Ghosts are not real.
  • It’s only in the movies that someone always comes to rescue you. In real life, there are no knights in shining armor.

Look at the following examples:

  • That painting on the wall is not real. It’s just a photograph. (It’s an imitation. It’s not a painting.)
  • That painting on the wall is not a genuine Matisse. It’s just a copy. (It’s a real painting, but it’s fake. It wasn’t Matisse who painted it.)
  • I bought a watch for my nephew.
  • But he’s only two. What will he do with a watch?
  • It’s not a real watch, you silly. It’s just a toy.
  • Oh, you’ve got a new watch! It looks like a genuine Patek Philippe.
  • That’s because it is genuine. It cost me a fortune.

Recommended for you: Sincerity vs Fidelity

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