I want to say "the clear distinctness/distinction of the two formulas implies ...". Please could you tell me how to select the word?

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  • Which do you think is correct and why? – rajah9 Aug 19 '14 at 20:41
  • 3
    What did a dictionary tell you? We don't want to repeat research you have already done. Here's one for example. – Andrew Leach Aug 19 '14 at 20:48

Distinctness isn't a great word, but it means the quality of being distinct. Distinction is what makes the things distinct. To put it another way:

There is distinctness between distinctness and distinction The distinction between distinctness and distinction is that the former is an abstract quality and the latter is a specific example.

For your example, use difference between.

  • I smell a difference without a distinction. :) – tchrist Aug 19 '14 at 22:16
  • How about this: distinctness is the assertion that at least one distinction exists. – Malvolio Aug 19 '14 at 22:45
  • What do you mean by "a great word"? I am still confusing... but thanks for your suggestion. – kwgl Aug 20 '14 at 8:27
  • "Isn't a great word" is litotes for "is a bad word". Technically, technically, you can make almost any adjective into a noun by adding "-ness" but some words work better than others. "Happiness", perfect; "purpleness", terrible. I would avoid distinctness and would prefer distinctiveness (which means "quality of being very different", in a positive way). And I think you are "confused", because the subject matter is "confusing". – Malvolio Aug 20 '14 at 18:04

Distinctness is an adjective which one would use to show the uniqueness of an item or items. Distinction is the contrast between two or more items as well as meaning the uniqueness of something compared to a group. I, personally, would use 'distinction' because it implies that it stands out of a group because of the contrast, but I think both could work.

  • 3
    Distinctness is certainly not an adjective. – user85526 Aug 19 '14 at 20:54

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