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Exist’ vs. ‘Exists’: Understanding Any Distinctions

Exist’ vs. ‘Exists’: Understanding Any Distinctions

Quick Answer: “Exist” is the base form of the verb, while “exists” is the present tense form and the third-person singular.

English is a beautiful language. It’s also one of the most challenging languages to learn, and for a good reason—it has a lot of rules.

It’s a matter of grammar, vocabulary, and word use. The parts of speech—nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, pronouns, prepositions, and conjunctions—work together in a complex way to create meaning in English sentences.

You must fully grasp these grammar rules to use the language efficiently.

If you’re interested in learning more about English and “exist” and “exists”, keep reading.

What Is The Meaning Of “Exist?”

The word “exist” has a few different meanings.

Image of the word 'exist.'
Almost everything existing in this world has its own purpose.

The first meaning is to be present in a place or location or to be somewhere. For example, you can say, “I exist in this room.”

Another meaning is to continue to live and exist in a particular state. This means that you are still alive and things are going well. For example, if your mother died of cancer but could live with her children until the end of her life, then none of her children would say that their mother did not exist.

The last meaning is to have value or importance. For example, if someone says, “I don’t exist,” they might feel that no one cares about or thinks about them.

What Is The Difference Between “Exist” And “Exists?”

The words “exist’ and “exists” are both verbs. “Exist” is a slightly different conjugation of the word “exist.” However, they are used differently in other sentences.

The main difference between both words is that “exist” is the main form of the verb and is mainly used as a verb. In contrast, “exists” is the third-person singular form of the main verb, mainly used with singular nouns and pronouns in a sentence.


  • A variety of galaxies exist in this universe.
  • Werewolves only exist in fiction books.
  • He exists in this world only to fulfill his duty.

Apart from this, certain other differences between the two words include:

  • The word “exist” is a verb that means something exists in the world.
  • The word “exists” is used as a verb or an adjective. It means that something or someone is real or true.
  • “Exist” can describe real and tangible things like people, places, and things.
  • The word “exist” means “to be present in a place,” while the word “exists” means “to be real.”
  • “Exist” is a transitive verb.
  • “Exists” is an intransitive verb.

Look at this table of differences between these two words for easy understanding.

It means “to be physically present in a place.”It means “to be real.”
You can use it mostly for tangible things.You can use it primarily for tangible things.
It’s a transitive verb.It’s an intransitive verb.
It’s the main form of the verb.It’s the third-person singular form of the verb.
It’s only used as a verb in a sentence.It’s mostly used as an adjective.
Difference between “exist” and “exists”
Image of the word "grammar."
Grammar is an essential part of a language.

What Is A Verb?

The verb is a word that expresses an action or state of being; it is often used with a subject and an object.

A verb can be transitive (take an object) or intransitive (not take an object).

The verb’s subject can be a noun, a pronoun, or even an entire clause. The object of the verb can also be any of those things.

Here is a short video clip about verbs.

What is a verb?

What Is A Third-Person Singular Form Of A Verb?

Third-person singular forms are used for verbs about the speaker, not the person being spoken to.

For example, “I eat” is in the first person (because it’s from the point of view of “me”), and “you eat” is in the second person (because it’s from the point of view of someone else). But when discussing eating without specifying who’s doing it, you use the third person, as in “she eats.

How Do You Use “Exist” In A Sentence?

You can use ‘exist’ in a sentence to mean “to have an actual or physical presence.”

For example, you could say:

  • “The dog exists in the yard.”
  • “I exist on campus.”
  • “This book exists.”
  • “The tree exists.”

In other words, when you say “exist,” you are saying that something is real and happening. This isn’t just a thought or an idea.

What Can You Use Instead Of “Exist?”

Instead of “exist,” try:

  1. be
  2. exist as
  3. have been

For example:

  • “I exist” as “I am.”
  • “You exist in Paris” as “You have been in Paris.”
  • “We exist like a team,” as “We are a team.”

What Is The Opposite Of “Exist?”

You can use different words as an opposite of “exist.”


  • Wither
  • Disappear
  • Cease
  • Vanish

Is “Exist” A Past Tense?

In reality, the answer may not be as straightforward as you might expect.

The word “exist” can be used in two ways: as a present-tense verb and as a past-tense verb. The word’s definition describes its usage in both cases.

If you say, “I exist,” you exist at the moment of utterance. This usage is called present tense.

If you say, “I existed,” it means that you existed at some point before the moment of utterance. This usage is called past tense.

Does She “Exist” Or “Exists?”

While both words may be correct, the first one is more commonly used.

The correct phrase is “She exists.” The verb exist has a different meaning than the verb be. To exist means to be actual or real.

Image of the names of parts of speech.
There are eight parts of speech.

“She exists” means she is real or could tell she is only a figment of your imagination or daydreams.

Does “Exist” Mean “Living?”

The word “exist” does not mean “living.” The dictionary definition of “exist” is: “(of a living thing) to live or remain alive; be present.” In other words, something exists when it is present, whether that thing is living or not.

“Exist” means that something exists—that it is accurate. You can exist without living; for example, a rock exists but does not live.

However, some living things do not exist physically; for example, an idea or a thought can be present in someone’s mind but not physically present anywhere else.

What Is A Noun For “Exist?”

Image of a word "noun."
The noun is a naming word.

The noun for “exist” is “existence.” Existence is the state of being real, existing, or having a concrete existence.

A noun is a word that names a person, place, thing, or idea; it can be a single word or phrase that refers to anything from people to objects to ideas.

Examples of nouns are “dog,” “house,” and “life.” In the sentence, “The dog barked,” “dog” is the noun because it names something specific.

Final Thoughts

  • The word “exist” is a verb and can be used in sentences to refer to the existence of something.
  • The word “exists,” on the other hand, is an adjective, which means it can modify nouns or pronouns. It’s also used in a variety of other ways.
  • “Exist” can be used as a verb in a tense or form.
  • “Exists” can often be used as an adjective.
  • “Exist” means “to have existence,” while “exists” means “to be found or known to exist.”

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