My friends and I have been using 'calculative' and not 'calculating' to describe a person given to doing or planning things only for their benefits; but it seems like we have been wrong for so long. Anyone with the same problem?

  • I have not heard it before even in Malaysia, which I visit relatively often, and where I note you live. – WS2 Mar 6 '14 at 7:55
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    This is not standard American English, nor have I heard any examples in British English. I see why you might think to coin the word, but it is one example among several of using verbs in place of adjectives, such as demanding or exacting (to name just two which can apply to a person). – Niel de Beaudrap Mar 6 '14 at 8:18
  • @Niel: I'm not sure that think + to-infinitive is standard English for 'think it sensible / fitting / a good idea to': Collins: 6. (may take a clause as object or an infinitive) a. to expect; suppose: I didn't think to see you here. b. to be considerate or aware enough (to do something): he did not think to thank them. – Edwin Ashworth Mar 6 '14 at 14:09
  • @EdwinAshworth: See e.g. the Wiktionary, #6. This is idiomatic both in positive ("I thought to inform you") and negative ("I didn't think to bring a jacket") forms, as you will find if you search for such constructions with Google. – Niel de Beaudrap Mar 6 '14 at 14:20
  • Wiktionary certainly gives the 'to consider, judge, regard' sense, but does not say that this sense can be used as a simple catenative. 'I didn't think to bring a jacket' means 'It didn't enter my mind to ...' rather than 'I thought it not worthwhile to ...'. A complex catenative (I see why you might think it reasonable / sensible to ...) works. – Edwin Ashworth Mar 6 '14 at 19:51

It’s in Oxford Dictionaries where it’s given as the adjective derived from the verb calculate. The Oxford English Dictionary shows that it has been in use since the late eighteenth century.

  • "Needless to say, sometimes I get disappointed with friends who do not realize or is not calculative enough to see my ‘generosity’." ...What's up with the "friends who do not realize or is" in the link from the oxford dictionaries? – msam Mar 6 '14 at 11:53
  • I don't know. I would have expected are. – Barrie England Mar 6 '14 at 11:56
  • Fortunately the author deemed the whole quotation needless to say. – Sven Yargs Mar 13 '14 at 18:15

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