What is the difference between those two words?

Example sentence: "this can greatly reduce the needed | necessary effort". I found some posts saying that necessary is more urgent?! Are there more differences?

  • 1
    I noticed you haven't joined ELL yet. Perhaps that's not necessary, but I think this question might be better over there. Also, whether you ask here or there, it's always a good idea to include some dictionary definitions when you're asking about the difference between two words. That accomplishes two things: (1) it lets everyone know that you've done your own investigating, and (2) it alleviates the need for everyone else to perform the task of looking these words up, which is the natural place to start when answering such questions.
    – J.R.
    Commented Apr 26, 2013 at 8:46
  • @J.R. thank you for pointing me to ELL! I will incorporate some definitions!
    – strauberry
    Commented Apr 26, 2013 at 8:49
  • Even before looking up the words you've highlighted, you might consider re-wording the sentence: This [procedure] can reduce greatly the effort required. Commented Apr 26, 2013 at 19:55
  • I don't think urgency has anything to do with the issue. Neither word imolies anything either way about urgency.
    – TrevorD
    Commented May 10, 2013 at 16:09
  • I need a good stiff drink, but, I'll admit, it's not really necessary for my existence.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Apr 21, 2015 at 3:17

2 Answers 2

  1. The spelling:


  1. Part of speech:

Needed: past participle form of verb need; sometimes uses substantively as a noun.
Necessary: an adjective.

  1. Necessary is the idiomatic choice--13 times more common than needed in the OP expression:

enter image description here

  1. Oxford Dictionaries Online recommends necessary in lieu of needed.

The word "needed" sees most of its use as the past tense of the verb "to need". Due to its repeated glottal stops, it has the tendency to appear clumsy when employed as an adjective, which is why the word "necessary" has become so common. Compare the frequency with which one encounters the word "desired", as opposed to "desiderated".

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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