Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Possible Duplicate:
Why is it “geometric” but “theoretical”?
“Electric” vs. “electrical”

I think I'm clear on the difference between word pairs such as elector and electoral, where the latter pertains to the former, I'm not sure if the same rule applies to the following examples:

  1. Numeric vs. numerical
  2. Electric vs. electrical

Is the relationship between these the same as e.g. elector and electoral?

share|improve this question

marked as duplicate by RegDwigнt Dec 28 '11 at 23:46

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

1 Answer 1

up vote 1 down vote accepted

I am not sure what relationship you are referring to, but if you mean does the -al ending mean the same thing in all cases, the answer is yes, more or less. However:

  • numeric and numerical are actually synonyms or variants

  • likewise electric and electrical, more or less

  • electoral doesn't just mean "related to electors"; it also means "related to elections"

EDIT: What I would say in the case of numeric and electric is that the -al suffix does not actually add the "pertaining to" meaning in the same way, because the -ic ending already does so. As to why there are both forms,...that's another question.

share|improve this answer

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.