Can you think of any situation where the following could be used interchangeably or vice versa?



Any help would be greatly appreciated

  • Native speaker from where? US? Jan 4, 2015 at 18:41
  • Or, an educated one.
    – nima
    Jan 4, 2015 at 18:50
  • COULD IT BE? You know, we have this expression in our own language :"My ears knocked" :D
    – M.A.R.
    Jan 4, 2015 at 19:08
  • We had a [live/living] Christmas tree this year. (incidentally it's vice versa)
    – Jim
    Jan 4, 2015 at 19:19

2 Answers 2


I agree with Khan's answer.

"Living" has a noun meaning; "live" does not. For example, "You can earn a living as a translator" is valid; "earn a live as a translator" is nonsense.

The sound of the "i" changes between "live" (the adjective) and "live" (the verb). "Living" sounds like the verb. "Live" (the adjective) rhymes with "hive", "jive", and "thrive"; "live" (the verb) sounds like the first syllable of "liver", or the middle syllable of "deliver". "Living" rhymes with "giving" and "shivving", but not with "hiving", "jiving", nor "thriving".

Some examples where "live" and "living"'s adjectival meanings are more-or-less interchangeable:

  • She gave me a live plant.
  • She gave me a living plant.

  • Is it alive?

  • Is it living?
  • on the other hand, "Is it live?" means "Is it happening now?", not "Is it alive?"

  • Live or dead

  • Alive or dead (but "dead or alive" is more common)
  • Living or dead
  • First off, thanks. Nevertheless, which cases?
    – nima
    Jan 5, 2015 at 8:02
  • I am looking forward to somebody elaborating their explanations in more accurate way, so that I will learn it very well.
    – nima
    Jan 5, 2015 at 8:04
  • 1
    @nima, jasper's answer is pretty straight forward. When they are used as an adjective to mean that something has life, they are interchangeable. When "live" is used as a verb, or to mean "not recorded", or in its other use to mean electrically charged, they are not interchangeable. When "live" as an adjective is used as an object, it is declined as "alive", but is still interchangeable with "living".
    – TBridges42
    Aug 7, 2015 at 20:34

Live and living are both used as adjectives and they have the same meaning i.e. not dead.

"Live" is usually used for people. We also use "live" figuratively to mean "not recorded" such as a live show, concert, program, etc.

"Living" is usually used for animals and plants.

  • This really doesn't answer the question, that is: Is there a situation where they could be used interchangeably. There are, of course, plenty of cases where they can't be.
    – Jim
    Jan 5, 2015 at 6:33

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .