I have read the previous topics but still dont know where I should use history or historical in the following examples.

Athens is a historic / historical city

This chair is historic / historical

This building is historic / historical

This is a historic / historical winning for Manchester United.

Thank you so much

closed as off-topic by Jason Bassford, jimm101, Skooba, Rory Alsop, TaliesinMerlin Mar 15 at 16:31

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    Where do your 'examples' come from? Do they come from an English test? If so, it is not our job to do your tests for you! Also, have you looked in a dictionary for other reference book for the difference. If not, then please do so. If you have looked in a dictionary, please indicate where you have looked and explain why you still don't understand the difference. – TrevorD Mar 12 at 1:01
  • Ye I have looked and read some of the examples from this site and others. But none of them describes clearly about these exmple and they are not from tests otherwise I would have found the answers. – David Mar 12 at 1:45
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    You start off asking about the difference between history and historical, but then give examples of historic versus historical. (I presume you want to know about the latter, but it's not entirely clear.) I also don't understand why the dictionary definitions and their examples haven't helped. Please provide the actual definitions you've looked at and explain the specific source of confusion that still remains. – Jason Bassford Mar 12 at 5:10
  • @David Thank you for your response - but you actually only answered part of my question: you ignored "have you looked in a dictionary". If you had, you would have found the answer quite quickly & easily. I have just looked up the two words in the Oxford Dictionary (available free online) here: Historic & Historical. Hopefully, those entries would have answered your question readily. But, if not, then you could have asked a more detailed & appropriate question. (cont'd)... – TrevorD Mar 12 at 13:44
  • ... (cont'd) May I refer you to our Help Page at [english.stackexchange.com/help/on-topic] and particularly to the section on Where can I find answers to simple and basic questions? ... "Try a dictionary if ...". You may carre to note that there had been a proposal to close this question with the comment "Please include the research you’ve done, or consider if your question suits our English Language Learners site better. Questions that can be answered using commonly-available references are off-topic." – TrevorD Mar 12 at 13:52

All of your examples should use "historic." The difference between the two words is:

"Historic" refers to something that is significant because of its history, or to something that "made" history. Athens is a historic city because of the accomplishments throughout its history; a chair or building are historic because of the significance of their style or events that took place there; a victory is historic because it is unusual and therefore "makes" history.

"Historical" refers to something that is simply from history. Usually, you would use it for a document, i.e. "historical records."

As another example: You could describe the Treaty of Versailles with either word, but you would be saying two different things. If you said "the Treaty of Versailles was historic," you would be saying that the agreement, the conclusions, the ideas contained in it were significant in history. If you said "the Treaty of Versailles is historical," you would be saying that the document itself, the piece of paper, was written in the past.

[Addition by TrevorD]

The explanation above is supported by the following definitions from the Oxford Dictionary:

Famous or important in history, or potentially so. [emphasis added]

Of or concerning history or past events.

The first entry above also includes the following explanation about the difference between historic and historical:

Historic and historical are used in slightly different ways. Historic means ‘famous or important in history’, as in a historic occasion, whereas historical means ‘concerning history or historical events’, as in historical evidence: thus a historic event is one that was very important, whereas a historical event is something that happened in the past.

  • Welcome to ELU & thank you for a helpful answer (which I have up-voted). May I just point out that, on this site, we do ask people (where relevant) to support their answers with references to reliable sources in order to add 'substance' to their answers and show that any answer is not merely your personal view or opinion. This is explained in this Help Page on 'Answering' - note particularly the section on Provide context for links. Thanks again for your contribution. – TrevorD Mar 12 at 14:03
  • I've taken the liberty of adding relevant references to your answer, for the reasons given above. – TrevorD Mar 12 at 14:24
  • Hi Susan. Thank you for your answer. Really helped and much appreciated – David Mar 12 at 15:04
  • Oops, I'll be sure to use references next time! That is as it should be. Thanks for letting me know. – susan Mar 13 at 15:49

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