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Thread: -ic vs. -ical

  1. #1
    Dr. Jamshid Ibrahim is offline Senior Member
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    Default -ic vs. -ical

    -ic adjectives vs -ical
    In English there are certain words which have two types of adjectives sometimes with a difference in meaning such as:
    economic/economical
    historic/historical


    Other adjectives like: electric/electrical seem to have lost their different meanings.
    1. Are there other adjectives apart from those I mentioned which have the two forms with/without a difference in meaning?
    2. Any ideas why specifically the words I mentioned have two adjectives and why other adjectives like public cannot lead to publical?
    3. How can we predict whether an adjective ends in -ic or -ical?
    Last edited by Dr. Jamshid Ibrahim; 20-May-2007 at 07:53.

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    Tdol is online now Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: -ic vs. -ical

    Periodic/Periodical

  3. #3
    Thaly is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: -ic vs. -ical

    Hi,
    This should be of help: www.icame.uib.no/ij25/gries.pdf
    Have fun

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    CHOMAT is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: -ic vs. -ical

    Dr Ibrahim,
    How can we predict ic ical? I encounter the same difficulty with narratologic or narratological.
    For the reason why adjectives own two forms. I intuit from lexicology:
    isn't it a matter of adverb's suffixation. We can sayelectrically . Did the adverb turned into an adjective- for adverbs and adjectives are confusedly used for one another I speak fluent instead of fluently- and this adjectivekept a slighlty different meaning
    I'm not sure about it of course that 's just a guess.
    Alain

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    Dr. Jamshid Ibrahim is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: -ic vs. -ical

    Thanks Richard

    Thaly:thanks but there is a problem with the url you sent. Could you check and send it again.

    Alain: Yes, I do believe adverbs are at work here although you have words like publicly. Nowadays at least in spoken English there is a tendency to shorten -ly adverbs (which are long) so that they look like adjectives as with fast and hard. Maybe because I speak fluent means I am fluent it is treated as a link verb which takes an adjective. But I think it just shortened. in German for example adjective and adverbs look the same.

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    Tdol is online now Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: -ic vs. -ical

    cubic/cubical

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    bianca is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: -ic vs. -ical

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Jamshid Ibrahim View Post
    Thanks Richard

    Thaly:thanks but there is a problem with the url you sent. Could you check and send it again.

    Alain: Yes, I do believe adverbs are at work here although you have words like publicly. Nowadays at least in spoken English there is a tendency to shorten -ly adverbs (which are long) so that they look like adjectives as with fast and hard. Maybe because I speak fluent means I am fluent it is treated as a link verb which takes an adjective. But I think it just shortened. in German for example adjective and adverbs look the same.
    Well, Jamshid, truth is adverbs are easy to build, but some are awkward, redundant, disfunctional. Take an adjective or a participle, add -ly, and behold! you have an adverb. But you'd probably be better off without it. Some write "tangledly" (the word itself is a tangle), or "tiredly", "overly", "thusly", "firstly" and so on. Why tiredly, when you can say wearily? Why tangledly, when there is "in tangles", or firstly when there is the shorter version first? And what shall we teach our students, what is correct language? Some adverbs (with or without -ly) are born out of necessity and are apparently here to stay. But, others are pretty clumsy. But that's my opinion. I'm confused, too.

    bianca
    Last edited by bianca; 22-May-2007 at 10:58.

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    Dr. Jamshid Ibrahim is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: -ic vs. -ical

    True Bianca I can't agree more. Adverbs are easily built, most of them end in ly and some of them sound awkward. Some adjectives which themselves end in ly like friendly or silly need substitutes or rephrasing otherwise you will have ly twice at the end. Sometimes it is difficult to decide between the ordinal numbers first or firstly.... German for example doesn't distinguish in form between adjectives and adverbs.
    Jamshid
    Last edited by Dr. Jamshid Ibrahim; 22-May-2007 at 19:48.

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    bianca is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: -ic vs. -ical

    I'm uncertain about the differences in meaning between a flat adverb and the -ly form of a verb, like in direct/directly (and not only). I know these adverbs are interchangeable in some uses, but not always.

    Why is it incorrect to say "directly" in this sentence:

    The plane flies direct to London (or between Paris and London).

    but correct in this one:

    The plane flew directly into the towers.

    Likewise, I cringe when I see or hear the use of "presently" like at the counter: We're presently unavailable". It sounds so wrong to me - shouldn't it be "at present" intsead? And doesn't "presently" mean "immediately" or "after a while" - only?

    Can directly and immediately be used interchangeably in examples such as "I went there directly/immediately I heard the news."

    thanks for helping out
    bianca
    Last edited by bianca; 25-May-2007 at 09:05.

  10. #10
    Dr. Jamshid Ibrahim is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: -ic vs. -ical

    directly refers to time whereas direct to place:
    The train goes there direct (no detour)
    He left directly (immediately)

    Presently in AmE means now but in BE means shortly (after a short time)
    Last edited by Dr. Jamshid Ibrahim; 25-May-2007 at 18:42.

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