Questions tagged [ic-ical]

Questions about the adjectival suffixes -ic and -ical.

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Adjective usage of 'mystic' vs 'mystical'

I have been checking the differences in dictionaries and forums and I cannot find any final conclusion. I get that: Mystic/Mystical are both valid adjectives Mystic is the only one that can be used ...
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2 votes
2 answers
99 views

X vs. X-al adjectives (asymptotic vs asymptotical, etc.)

Right now I am writing a technical report, where I describe asymptotic(al) curves, expansions etc. My understanding after a bit of web browsing is that asymptotic and asymptotical are near-synonymous ...
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4 votes
2 answers
202 views

electrical equipment vs electric car

Both of these things run on electricity. I can't figure out why electrical equipment can't be electric equipment? Even after some research, I can't give the proper answer.
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5 votes
2 answers
7k views

The difference between "poetic" and "poetical" in usage

I came across a sentence on grammarist.com: Blest is an archaic form that shows up mainly in references to old, mostly poetical texts and as a poetic affectation. I find the alternation between the ...
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0 votes
1 answer
906 views

What's the difference between " classic"and "classical"? [duplicate]

I have run into quite a few occasions when I confused " classic" and " classical".
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5 votes
1 answer
22k views

Is there a difference between "geographic" and "geographical"? [duplicate]

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 "...
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  • 203
0 votes
2 answers
148 views

logic/logical, arithmetic/arithmetical operators [duplicate]

Is it logic operators or logical operators / arithmetic operators or arithmetical operators. I'd expect both cases to be the same (either have the al suffix or not), and I usually check Google when I"...
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  • 115
4 votes
1 answer
5k views

Fantastic and fantastical

In my own idiolect, "fantastic" can mean "having fantasy elements" or, metaphorically, "very good," while "fantastical" can only have the literal sense. So, for instance, a fairy tale might be "...
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  • 2,281
1 vote
1 answer
108 views

Are words like "heroical" and "empirical" morphologically redundant?

According to the big Oxford and the online dictionary, the following pairs are concurrent: heroic and heroical; empiric and empirical Aren't the second forms morphologically redundant? Heroic ...
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4 votes
1 answer
3k views

"Stoic" as an adjective and "stoical"

In common speech, I often hear stoic used as an adjective. (I am ignoring definitions related to Stoicism.) Merriam-Webster validates this use with the definition "not affected by or showing passion ...
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  • 77
0 votes
2 answers
5k views

"symmetrical to" or "symmetric to"

This is strongly related to Usage of "symmetrical" and "symmetric" but with a slightly different flavor and not answered within that question. If I wish to indicate that X is the ...
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  • 121
2 votes
3 answers
8k views

Difference between 'acoustic' and 'acoustical'

"Acoustic" and "acoustical" are both used as adjectives, and both are used often in combinations such as "acoustical engineering", "acoustic energy", "acoustic model", etcetera. Some of these ...
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  • 334
1 vote
0 answers
121 views

Electric car or electrical car [duplicate]

I know the right answer is the former one thanks to Google, but is there a reason behind it other than idiomatic usage?
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  • 371
3 votes
2 answers
2k views

What is the difference between -ic and -al? [duplicate]

Is there a defined difference between words like "egotistic" and egotistical" or "manic" and "maniacal" in that one could have a manic smile or maniacal laughter and other words that have similar ...
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  • 935
2 votes
1 answer
2k views

"Classic symptoms" or "classical symptoms"? [duplicate]

According to Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary, both 'classic' and 'classical' mean very typical in a sense. However, in Longman Dictionary of contemporary English and Oxford Collocations ...
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0 votes
1 answer
2k views

"metaphoric" versus "metaphorical"

Is there a difference between the words "metaphoric" and "metaphorical"? I'm reading an essay in which "metaphoric" is used. But that sounded a little odd to me. "Metaphorical" sounds better. They'...
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  • 103
4 votes
1 answer
2k views

gynecological or gynecologic?

I often write medical copy and have always used 'gynecologic' as the descriptor, as in 'gynecologic oncologist' or 'gynecologic disorders.' However, I am editing something where the writer uses '...
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  • 360
1 vote
2 answers
5k views

The use of the suffix -al in adjectives [duplicate]

As a non- native speaker of English, I often find myself struggling with the usage of the suffix -al in adjectives. For instance, what's the difference between the words "historic" and "historical", "...
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  • 13
1 vote
2 answers
3k views

Which term is better: "electric circuit" or "electrical circuit"?

Which is the proper term to use when talking about circuits in physics—"electrical circuit" or "electric circuit"?
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  • 473
2 votes
3 answers
382 views

Dragons are "fantastic" creatures or "fantastical" creatures?

If I'm discussing fantasy as a genre, and I want to describe a noun as fitting that genre, should I call it fantastic or fantastical? It seems both words exist in (say) Merriam-Webster, but the -al ...
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  • 2,135
4 votes
4 answers
5k views

Hyperbolic vs Hyperbolical

I just looked up the word "hyperbolic" in the 3rd edition of "The New Oxford American Dictionary", and the second definition says "(of language) exaggerated; hyperbolical." When I go to hyperbolical, ...
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  • 223
1 vote
1 answer
766 views

Is the following sentence odd? "I find them comic"

But this is the Old Bailey. He's a Lord — or she's a Lady. You may find the wigs and the ceremonial ways that people refer to each other strange or intimidating. I was advised. But I don't find ...
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19 votes
6 answers
49k views

"Magic" versus "magical"

Two-part question. We say magic wand and magical creature, and swapping the adjectives sound wrong, even if they are technically right. Are there rules about which one to use, or is this a classic &...
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1 vote
0 answers
4k views

Uses of "Cyclic" vs. "Cyclical"? [duplicate]

As an engineering undergrad, I refer to "cyclic motion". My friend, an arts student, uses the term "cyclical unemployment" (whatever that means) instead. The only article I can find on the web about ...
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  • 111
15 votes
3 answers
31k views

"Geometric" or "Geometrical"?

I have read the excellent answers to Why is it "geometric" but "theoretical" - my question is specifically about usage. Is there a best practice for deciding between the variants geometric and ...
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  • 225
9 votes
4 answers
16k views

What is the difference between "graphic" and "graphical" as adjectives?

Are the two adjectives completely interchangeable, or is there a distinction between them? Does it matter which I choose?
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  • 783
2 votes
2 answers
8k views

Is there a difference between "anatomic" and "anatomical"?

I want to say "anatomical context". Google tells me that anatomical in that context is preferred. An online dictionary claimed that American English does not have anatomic but only knows anatomical.
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  • 123
4 votes
1 answer
532 views

Calendric vs Calendrical

When choosing an adjective to refer to the nature of a calendar system, such as how we have months of varying length, is it more appropriate to use calendric or calendrical? Is there any difference, ...
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20 votes
2 answers
22k views

'dynamical' vs. 'dynamic'

The adjective 'dynamical' is widely used in astronomy, perhaps science in general, but it seems like it has the exact same meaning and usage as 'dynamic', and further, seems to be the same part of ...
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3 votes
2 answers
4k views

"Hierarchical" vs. "hierarchic"

When do you use hierarchical and when hierarchic? For example, hierarchical database sounds much more native to me, even as a non-native English speaker. But why isn't it hierarchic database? Edit: ...
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  • 151
0 votes
4 answers
1k views

Electrical/electric [duplicate]

Which is correct: Electric power engineering student Electrical power engineering student
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1 vote
0 answers
204 views

"-ic versus -ical" what's the difference in meaning between adjectives ending in -ic or -ical? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Why is it “geometric” but “theoretical”? “Ironic” vs. “ironical” “Comic” vs. “comical” “Historic” vs. “historical” What's the difference for instance between ironic/...
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1 vote
3 answers
18k views

What is the difference between "neurologic" and "neurological"? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Why is it “geometric” but “theoretical”? A Google search was not immediately helpful, but I found this document: http://www.aan.com/globals/axon/assets/...
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  • 155
0 votes
2 answers
2k views

What is the difference between words like "historic" and "historical," and "instructive" and "instructional?" [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Why is it “geometric” but “theoretical”? They're all adjectives, so how do you know when to use one over the other? Does it matter? I think it does...
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  • 55
1 vote
2 answers
5k views

Is there any difference between the -logic, -logical, and -logous suffixes? [closed]

For example: tautologic, tautological, and tautologous.
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  • 301
17 votes
4 answers
61k views

Usage of "symmetrical" and "symmetric"

What is the appropriate usage of "symmetrical" and "symmetric" (using the geometrical adjectival definition of both terms)? Are they synonymous?
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  • 697
5 votes
5 answers
6k views

"Comic" vs. "comical"

I am confused between these words. Dictionaries say they are similar, but I vaguely remember my schoolteacher apprising me of a difference between them. I would love if someone could elucidate.
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8 votes
1 answer
1k views

What are the rules for the use of words that have a variant ending in -al? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Why is it “geometric” but “theoretical”? “Electric” vs. “electrical” I think I'm clear on the difference between word pairs ...
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22 votes
3 answers
56k views

Difference between "classical" and "classic"

What's the difference between classical and classic? Should we say classic content in textbooks or classical content in textbooks?
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  • 1,317
5 votes
3 answers
27k views

"Electric bill", "electrical bill" or "electricity bill" [closed]

Which is correct: electric bill, electrical bill or electricity bill?
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46 votes
5 answers
152k views

What is the difference between "electric" and "electrical" and their usage?

What is the difference between electric and electrical and their usage? For example, what is the difference between "electrical machine" and "electric machine"?
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  • 1,317
10 votes
4 answers
101k views

"Ironic" vs. "ironical"

Being that this highly related question primarily asked whether ironical is actually a word (and if it is used regionally), I'm interested to know whether there is a difference between it and ironic ...
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5 votes
1 answer
10k views

Does 'symbolic' mean the same as 'symbolical', and should one be preferred?

Wikipedia's article on vespers contains this passage (my emphasis): The name, however, by which it was most widely known during that period was Lucernalis or Lucernaria hora (l. c., 126). This name ...
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  • 1,007
2 votes
4 answers
17k views

"Scientific" versus "scientifical"

Is there any substantive difference in the meanings of these two words? Is the latter considered a proper word at all? If the answer to either of the above questions is yes, what are these words' ...
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6 votes
4 answers
14k views

"Economic" vs. "economical"

What is the difference between "economic" and "economical"?
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98 votes
5 answers
13k views

Why is it "geometric" but "theoretical"?

I just came across a course name: Geometric and Theoretical Optics. The mismatched endings bug me. Why do we have both -ical and -ic endings? Is there any difference in meaning between, say, ...
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  • 32k
10 votes
4 answers
7k views

"Ironic" vs "ironical"

I just read something where a phrase was described as ironical. To me the word ironical jars terribly. It just doesn't sound right at all. I would have said ironic. Is ironical a feature of American ...
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19 votes
4 answers
15k views

Is there a rule for which suffix to use when creating adjectives from nouns?

There are many suffixes that are used to create adjectives from nouns (-al, -ic, -ive, -y). Are there any rules used to create adjectives from nouns? In example, why is the adjective excessive, and ...
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  • 57.6k