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I know that ostensive and ostensible are both adjectives, but can someone give me proper usage of each in their adjective forms? In their adverb forms, they almost sound identical.

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closed as general reference by Daniel, Jasper Loy, kiamlaluno, PLL, waiwai933 Nov 15 '11 at 5:13

This question is too basic; it can be definitively and permanently answered by a single link to a standard internet reference source designed specifically to find that type of information.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

1 Answer 1

up vote 5 down vote accepted provides a sufficient starting point:


1. outwardly appearing as such; professed; pretended: an ostensible cheerfulness concealing sadness.
2. apparent, evident, or conspicuous: the ostensible truth of their theories.


1. clearly or manifestly demonstrative.
2. ostensible.

As far as I can tell, the only nuance between ostensible and ostensive is that ostensible means evident or apparent, sometimes pretended (externally), ostensive has a slight lean toward certain (internally). However, ostensive is not a widely used term, and is unlikely to be understood as different from ostensible in most contexts. So ostensible takes the cake in point of usefulness.

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