Is there any difference between “human history” and “human being history”?

Are those focus on two different aspects of history?

I know that human and human being are interchangeable, but when we talk about history, is there any difference?

2 Answers 2


Human being and human are not completely interchangeable. They are synonyms when human is a noun referring to an individual person, but human being is almost never used as a modifier, whereas human is used to to describe things relating to human beings, the human race, humanity, or mankind. Human being history would be quite unusual.

History can refer to many things. In a narrow sense, it is a discipline that seeks knowledge from studying the written record of the past, in contrast for example to archaeology. In the academic sense, the phrase human history is redundant; there can be no history without writing; hence the term prehistory to describe the time before writing systems were invented. But in common usage, it can be any information presented in a chronological context. In everyday speech we may specify human history to contrast it, for example, with cosmic history or geologic history, those events relating to the formation of the universe and the planet.

If you speaking of an individual human being, history is usually coupled with a modifier that limits the scope, e.g. one's employment history or romantic history. If speaking of one's life as a whole, it would be more usual to speak of one's past, and if written, the account would be labeled a biography rather than a history.

  • Thank you for the answer. Do I understand correctly that Human being history is unusual and grammatically incorrect? Aug 28, 2013 at 18:40
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    @AbbasAmiri Human being history is not idiomatic; while not technically incorrect, it would look unnatural because it is so uncommon.
    – choster
    Aug 28, 2013 at 19:20
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    @AbbasAmiri: Normally you would just say "Human history". If you needed to specifically say "Human Beings", you'd say "The history of Human Beings" rather than "Human Being history" due to the semantic confusion between (Human Being)[Adjective] history[Noun] and Human(Noun) Being(verb) history(Noun)
    – Matt
    Aug 28, 2013 at 19:45
  • I think "human being history" is just incorrect. For it to be correct "human being" would have to be used as an adjective, and I don't think it can be.
    – Peter Flom
    Aug 28, 2013 at 22:07

The difference is that nobody would ever say "Human being history". We would always talk about "human history".

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    I don't know why someone downvoted this. There are no subtle (or indeed, "not-so-subtle") semantic distinctions between OP's two alternatives. The only point worth making is that one of them is commonplace, whereas the other is never used. Aug 28, 2013 at 20:24

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