"meticulous" vs. "precise" vs. "accurate"

annapollon

Member
Italian
Dear all,

I have some doubts about the differences between "meticulous", "precise" and "accurate". I need to describe one person's attitude to complete complex tasks while paying a strong attention to every detail.
My understanding is that both "meticulous" and "accurate" could be the right words, while I'm not sure for "precise".
Does at least one of the following sentence make sense to you?

"My meticulous nature/attitude significantly enhances my project management skills".

"My accuracy significantly enhances my project management skills".

Thank you all,
A.P.
 
  • fmcti

    Member
    Chinese
    I doubt if you can use "My accuracy". I think accuracy can't be used to describe a person. But I am not sure. Look for some native speaker for some explanation.
     

    Basil Ganglia

    Senior Member
    English - USA
    Precise refers to the ability to repeat a task and obtain the same result each time. For example, when shooting at a target the marks made by a precise shooter will be closely clustered. They need not be in the center of the target.

    Accurate refers to the ability to perform a task and obtain a correct result. In the example of shooting at a target, the marks of an accurate shooter will be equally distributed around the center of the target, without necessarily being closely clustered.

    A shooter who is both accurate and precise will have marks that are clustered, and the cluster will be near the center of the target.

    This figure illustrates the differences:


    ***

    Meticulous refers to an ability to perform detailed tasks carefully and precisely. To my ear, a meticulous person is very apt to be precise because in tending to detail, a meticulous is likely to reproduce an activity faithfully. If that process has an underlying bias that skews the outcome, the meticulous person's work will reflect that bias consistently, yielding a result that is precise, but not necessarily accurate.
     
    Last edited:

    watercanyon

    Senior Member
    USA/English
    It appears you are working on a resume type of document.

    For me, meticulous means that I will pay attention to every detail in a project, checking and double checking and then verifying that things are going along as they should.

    Precise is what I do when I attempt :))) to do anything with numbers, such as accounting - my work needs to be precise in order to get the results I want - all of the figures need to be transferred to my calculations exactly as they are in the original document. When I do this, AND make correct calculations, I get accurate results from my efforts.

    For me, meticulous is a way of managing the things I do - an attitude and methodology in the way I work. Pecise and accurate are the high qualities of the work that I do - or attempt to do - and talk more about the results of my work efforts.

    I hope this helps clarify the terms for you.
     

    kalamazoo

    Senior Member
    US, English
    "My meticulous nature/attitude significantly enhances my project management skills".

    "My accuracy significantly enhances my project management skills".

    Neither of these sentences sounds very good to me. You could say "My meticulous attention to detail significantly enhances my ... skills."
     
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