Difference between associative entity and associative relationship attribute?

In ER diagramming, M:N relationships can have associative entities OR single associative attributes that describe the relationship. The difference is, associative entities must have a unique identifier and associative attributes don’t. According to the book, an associative entity must have:

1-all the relationships for the participating entity types are M:N relationships 

2-the resulting associative entity type has independent meaning to the end user and has an identifier 

3- the entity has one or more attributes 

4-the entity participates in 1 or more relationships independent of the entities rela

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