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The exact definition of the cytoplasm is sometimes confused with several other terms. The gel-like, liquid contents of the cell are usually called the cytosol, and the cytoplasm actually refers to ALL of the material suspended in the cytosol as well as the cytosol itself. A good analogy would be that the cytosol is the water in the pool, and the cytoplasm is the water plus all the people and pool toys floating in it.
The cytoplasm is like a house because;
- it's an interior environment, protected by walls (the cell membrane) on the outside that prevent certain things from getting in, as well as keeping the contents from escaping or falling out.
- it's highly organized compared to its environment, but it also has a significant amount of empty space, which is necessary to allow things to move around on the inside
- it contains many specialized structures that interact with each other to maintain that organization
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