Difference Between Plain and Plane

Main Difference – Plain vs Plane

Plane and plain are two words that are often confused by many English learners. Plain is mostly used as an adjective which means simple and ordinary whereas plane is mostly used as a noun. Plane can refer to a flat surface or an adjective. Meanwhile, plain, as a noun, can also refer to a flat lowland area. It is because of this meaning – both words’ relation to flatness – that many people tend to use these two words interchangeably. Therefore, it is important to remember the difference between plain and plane. Plain is a lowland whereas plane is a flat surface.

Plain – Meaning and Usage

The word plain can be used as an adjective, adverb, and a noun. A difference can also be noted in the diverse meanings of this word, based on its various grammatical functions. As an adjective, plain means simple, clear or unadorned. When describing a person, the adjective plain indicates that the person it describes is ordinary looking, not beautiful. The following sentences use plain as an adjective.

She wore a plain white dress.

It was a plain room; there were only a wooden table and a two chairs.

The advantages of this proposal are plain to see.

She always wore plain colors.

She always saw herself as a plain, average person.

As a noun, plain refers to a flat lowland with few trees. It is this meaning of plain that often gets confused with plane since both these meanings are related to flatness. It is easy to remember the difference between their meanings by keeping in mind that plain is a lowland in the ground whereas plane is almost always above the ground.Main Difference - Plain vs Plane

Plane – Meaning and Usage

Plane has several meanings. Plane can refer to an airplane, a flat surface or a tool used for shaping wood. The idea of the flat surface is mainly used in mathematics.

 The following examples will help you to understand these meanings better.

He caught the morning flight from London.

Position the ruler so that both ends lie in the same plane.

She studied meditation to reach a higher spiritual plane. 

His whole family had died in a plane crash.

A plane is a flat, two-dimensional surface that extends infinitely far.

As a verb, plane is synonymous to glide or soar without moving the winds. This is mainly used to talk about airborne objects or birds. Plain can also refer to the act of shaping wood.

When plane is used as an adjective, it means level or flat. For example,

The piece of glass was kept on a plane surface.

Difference Between Plain and Plane

Difference Between Plain and Plane

Grammatical Category

Plain is an adjective, adverb and a noun.

Plane is a noun, adjective and verb.


Plain means simple, unadorned, average or clear.

Plane means flat or level.


Plain is a flat lowland with few trees.

Plane is a flat surface or an airplane.


Plain is not a verb.

Plane means to glide or to shape wood.Difference Between Plain and Plane- infographic

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