What is the Difference Between Ideas and Concepts

The main difference between ideas and concepts is that ideas are thoughts or suggestions that occur in the mind, whereas concepts are ideas that have undergone fine-tuning.

Generally, we use the two terms idea and concept as synonyms. In a general context, both refer to ideas and suggestions that occur in mind.

Key Areas Covered

1. What are Ideas  
     – Definition, Features
2. What are Concepts
     – Definition, Features
3. Similarities – Ideas and Concepts
     – Outline of Common Features
4. Difference Between Ideas and Concepts
     – Comparison of Key Differences

Key Terms

Concepts, Ideas, Suggestions, Thoughts

Difference Between Ideas and Concepts - Comparison Summary

What are Ideas

Ideas are thoughts, suggestions, or opinions that form in the mind. Ideas are abstract. An idea can be an instant thought that comes into your mind. For example, imagine that you have recently received a big sum of money and you are now thinking of how to spend it. Numerous ideas will come into your mind – open your own business, go on a trip, buy a car, buy a house, donate the money, etc. All these thoughts are ideas. Ideas help us to solve problems. In fact, the capacity to create and understand ideas is a basic characteristic of human beings. Moreover, an original idea can result in an innovation.

Ideas vs Concepts

Here are some example sentences that contain the word idea. These will help you to understand the meaning and usage of this word more clearly.

She was full of bright ideas.

It was his idea to organize a surprise birthday party for Kate’s 30th birthday.

If you have any new business ideas, please let me know.

It’s not a good idea to drive while you are feeling drowsy.

No one had any idea that he was going to commit suicide.

What are Concepts

A concept is an abstract notion. In informal usage, the term concept refers to any idea, but it also has specific meanings in different fields such as linguistics, philosophy, psychology, mathematics, and physics. When we specifically compare ideas and concepts, we can describe concepts as fine-tuned ideas. For example, if you have the idea of starting a business, your business concept would be more specific and detailed. For example,

Business idea – starting a restaurant

Business concept – starting a Chinese restaurant that targets Chinese immigrants in a specific locality.

In philosophy, a concept is a mental image that corresponds to some distinct entity or class of entities, or to its essential features or determines the application of a term, playing a part in the use of reason or language. In other words, it is an abstract idea that represents the basic characteristics of what it represents. The following image indicates some of the mental images that are associated with the concept of a tree.

Ideas and Concepts - What is the difference?

Let’s now see how this word is used in a sentence.

Since the doctor used a lot of abstract concepts, his explanation didn’t really make any sense.

Rich people have no concept of the problems of the common people.

Dr. West introduced several new concepts to the field of medieval history.

She challenged the concept of traditional art with her new style.

Similarities Between Ideas and Concepts

  • Generally, we use the two terms idea and concept as synonyms.
  • In a general context, both refer to ideas and suggestions that occur in mind.
  • They are abstract notions.

Difference Between Ideas and Concepts

Definition

Ideas are thoughts, suggestions, or opinions that form in mind, whereas a concept is an abstract notion.

Nature

Ideas are thoughts or suggestions that occur in mind, whereas concepts are ideas that have undergone fine-tuning.

Details

While ideas are not very detailed, concepts are more well-planned and detailed.

Conclusion

The main difference between ideas and concepts is that ideas are thoughts or suggestions that occur in our mind whereas concepts are ideas that have undergone fine-tuning. However, we generally use the two terms idea and concept as synonyms.

Reference:

1. “Concept.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 18 Oct. 2021.

Image Courtesy:
1. “Idea-ideas-innovation-light-energy” (CC0) via Pixabay
2. “Generalization process using trees” By Tomwsulcer – (CC0) via Commons Wikimedia

About the Author: Hasa

Hasa has a BA degree in English, French and Translation studies. She is currently reading for a Masters degree in English. Her areas of interests include literature, language, linguistics and also food.

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