I'm writing a multiple choice test (MCQ) and I'll add a page of extra questions. I'm hesitating between naming them "supplementary list/page of questions" and "supplemental list/page of questions", but I don't get the difference of meaning.

According to Wiktionary, they have distinct meaning and aren't considered synonyms:

supplemental (comparative more supplemental, superlative most supplemental)

  1. Acting to supplement.
  2. Appending.

supplementary (comparative more supplementary, superlative most supplementary)

  1. Additional; added to supply what is wanted.

I could potentially use alternative formulations like additional questions or extra questions, but my concern here is to understand the difference between adjectives supplemental and supplementary.

I tried to look at some well-reviewed conventions, like from unicode.org lists, but they use both terminologies without me understanding why:

1 Answer 1


I think you've answered your own question! The additional test questions are "added to supply what is wanted" in this case more of them. So it should be "This is a page of Supplementary questions"

Supplemental is used more in the sense of adding value or function or information. A further definition of a word, more functionality to a process.

Supplementary is adding more of the same without necessarily improving the whole.

  • 'Supplemental' is synonymous with 'supplementary' but also has the sense 'serving to complete' [The Content Authority] (ie the words are not always interchangeable). Jun 1, 2023 at 18:34

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