what is the difference b/w Error and Exception in Java ?

Error vs. Exception: The Analogy

Think of your computer system as a ship. Now, imagine Errors and Exceptions as different types of problems that can occur while you’re sailing.

Errors: Shipwrecks

Errors are like major shipwrecks. They represent serious problems that usually indicate something has gone terribly wrong with the ship itself:

  • System Failures: Just like how a ship might hit an iceberg and start sinking, Errors in Java often refer to serious issues like running out of memory (OutOfMemoryError) or system crashes.
  • Unrecoverable: Just like how you can’t really fix a sinking ship while it’s going down, Errors are typically not something your program can recover from. They usually indicate something so severe that it’s best to abandon ship.


  • OutOfMemoryError
  • StackOverflowError

Exceptions: Navigational Hazards

Exceptions are like navigational hazards or obstacles that your ship encounters while sailing:

  • Recoverable: These are issues that you can navigate around or handle. For example, if your ship encounters a storm, you can take measures to ride it out or steer around it.
  • Handled Gracefully: In Java, you can catch and handle Exceptions to prevent your program from crashing. This is like how a skilled captain can steer the ship away from danger.


  • IOException (like a storm disrupting communication)
  • NullPointerException (like trying to use a broken compass)

Diving Deeper: Technical Differences


  • Hierarchy: Error is a subclass of Throwable, but it doesn’t inherit from Exception.
  • Nature: Represents serious problems that an application typically cannot recover from.
  • Examples:
public class ErrorExample {
public static void main(String[] args) {
throw new OutOfMemoryError("Out of memory!");


  • Hierarchy: Exception is also a subclass of Throwable.
  • Nature: Represents conditions that a program might want to catch and handle.
  • Examples:
public class ExceptionExample {
public static void main(String[] args) {
try {
int[] numbers = {1, 2, 3};
} catch (ArrayIndexOutOfBoundsException e) {
System.out.println("Array index is out of bounds: " + e.getMessage());

Quick Recap

  • Error: Serious issues that usually can’t be handled by the program.
  • Exception: Issues that can be caught and handled, allowing the program to continue running.

I hope this analogy and explanation help clarify the difference!

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