Difference between ‘viewpoint’ and ‘point of view’ in English

by Jakub Marian

Tip: See my list of the Most Common Mistakes in English. It will teach you how to avoid mis­takes with com­mas, pre­pos­i­tions, ir­reg­u­lar verbs, and much more (PDF Version).

In the figurative senses, a point of view and a viewpoint are essentially the same thing. They both refer to an attitude or a way of thinking about a particular subject, e.g.

Try looking at things from a different point of view.
Try looking at things from a different viewpoint.

That being said, it is a fact that “point of view” is much more common than “viewpoint”. Take a look at the following diagram, showing the relative frequencies of the two phrases in English literature:

viewpoint-point-of-view

So, if you want to stick to one of them, “point of view” would be a better choice, since it will be more universally accepted.

The word “viewpoint” can also be used in the literal sense as a “point from which something is viewed”, and it is essentially synonymous with the word “angle”, as in

The painter drew the building from many different viewpoints.

By the way, if you haven’t read my guide on how to avoid the most common mistakes in English, make sure to check it out; it deals with similar topics.

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