I am wondering if there is a difference between "geographic" and "geographical". My colleague, although not a native English speaker, informed me that there is a difference between "historic" and "historical", such as described here: Link, and that could extend to other terms.

The context is corporate diversification, where firms that are active in different countries are said to engage in "geographic" or "geographical diversification".

To clarify the difference to the existing question:

Furthermore: If there is a difference and I should use one, but not the other term, then how does that apply to "industrial diversification"? Would this become "industry diversification"?

More generally, are such differences between words as with "historic" and "historical" existing for all adjectives, or only a small number of them? How can these be recognized and constructed?


1 Answer 1


As explained in the following extract from the Grammarist the two terms have the same meaning and usage. Geographical is the original adjective, geographic is a later variant, probably from French geographique.

Geographic vs geographical:

Geographic is an adjective that describes something or someone as pertaining to geography, the study of the location of places. It can also describe something as being part of a particular region, usually unique in some way.

The adverb form of this word is geographically.

Geographical is listed in the dictionary as a variant form or spelling of geographic. Interestingly, in the European dictionaries we checked, geographical was the main entry and geographic was the variant form.


"pertaining to geography," 1550s, from Late Latin geographicus (from Greek geographikos, from geographia; see geography) + -al (1). Related: Geographically.


1620s, shortened form of geographical (q.v.); in some cases probably from Middle French géographique or Late Latin geographicus.


According to Google Books geographical in the more common between the two.

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