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Macro vs. Micro

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  Angbeen Chaudhary  —  Grammar Tips
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English words can be modified through many different methods. One of these methods is through prefixing. English has many prefixes, some of which refer to units of relative size. These prefixes can often be so similar that they refer to different degrees of the same measurement. Macro and micro refer to measurements of size but in different directions. One refers to large measurements, and one refers to small measurements.

In this post, I will compare macro vs. micro. I will use each of these words in at least one example sentence, so you can see it in its proper context. Plus, I will give you a memory tool that will help you choose either micro or macro for your own writing.


The word macro originated from Greek makros ‘long, large’ whereas the word micro originated from Greek mikros ‘small’.

Macro as noun:

Macro is used as a noun in computing which means a single instruction that expands automatically into a set of instructions to perform a particular task.

Macro as adjective:

The word macro is used as an adjective which means something on a large-scale; overall.

The analysis of social events at the macro level was presented.


In photography, the word macro means relating to macrophotography.

Your lens has a macro setting for shooting big close-ups.

Micro as noun:

The word micro is used as a noun to describe various things like a microcomputer, a microprocessor and a very short miniskirt or mini dress.

Micro as adjective:

Macro vs. Micro

Micro is also used as an adjective which means something that is extremely small.

They had arranged a micro buffet area.


Abbas noted that the Fund is paying more intention to Egyptian women, pointing out that the loans provided to women in the last five years amount to EGP 3bn for small and micro-enterprises. (The Daily News Egypt)

Mrs. Wade is rocking fresh micro braids and we are here for every moment of it. (USA Today)

This was followed up a month later by (now former) lead designer David Goldfarb reassuring gamers that Payday 2 would not get micro-transactions in the future. (Forbes)

Mike Coupe, Sainsbury chief executive, said the micro stores would be suitable for densely populated urban areas, where there were large numbers of office workers, or residents travelling to and from work every day. (The Financial Times)

My love for history animates all my macro ideas in banking and finance. (The Khaleej Times)

Macro trading, which involves products such as interest rate derivatives and foreign exchange, is no longer the revenue driver it used to be. (Business Insider)

Fortress’s macro fund, launched in 2002 to bet on global macroeconomic shifts by trading equity, debt, commodity and currency markets, is down 17.5% so far this year through September, according to a regulatory filing. (The Wall Street Journal)

But over time a pattern of microaggression can cause macro harm by continuously reminding members of marginalized groups of their precarious position. (The Los Angeles Times)

Macro or micro:

Macro and micro are terms of measurement that often appear as prefixes to other words. Macro refers to large things. Micro refers to small things.  They each have a wide variety of uses, but this simple rule holds true for all cases. Remember, micro and tiny are both spelled with the letter I, so identifying the meaning of this word should be easy. Small differences in spelling can lead to large differences in meaning—even though micro and macro are only different by one letter, they mean opposite things. Don’t forget to check this site any time you have questions about spelling differences or other writing topics. If you ever find yourself unable to choose micro or macro, you can always use this article as a refresher.


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