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  1. Mehrgan's Avatar
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    #1

    Question Electric, Electronic, or Electrical?

    Hi all...

    Is there any straightforward clue when to use which?! I'd appreciate if you could help me with this...Ta!

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    #2

    Re: Electric, Electronic, or Electrical?

    Not a teacher.

    For something to be "electronic" it would have to have some computer chips (integrated circuits) in it.

  2. Offroad's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Electric, Electronic, or Electrical?

    We use ‘electrical’ to describe systems, industries, components and certain machines or devices. Consider the following:


    • Electrical appliances such as washing machines and dishwashers use a lot of electricity.
    • My new car has electrically-operated windows.
    • My house was full of electrical and electronic (note: not ‘electronical’) equipment.
    • The electrical and mechanical engineering industries are doing well at the present time.


    We use ‘electric’ to describe things to do with current and voltage, simpler machines and devices and the atmosphere. Consider the following:


    • An electric fire in winter and an electric fan in summer were all I needed.
    • The electric wiring in this house needs to be renewed.
    • The atmosphere was electric when Tina Turner came on stage.


    Source: the BBC website.

    In my opinion, 'electronic' and 'electrical' mean the same!

    [I am not a teacher]

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    #4

    Re: Electric, Electronic, or Electrical?

    In my opinion, 'electronic' and 'electrical' mean the same!
    How about an electrical storm?

  3. Offroad's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Electric, Electronic, or Electrical?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    How about an electrical storm?
    I searched the web and found both, electric and electrical storms. I'd have writ 'electric' instead of 'electrical'. And your example might be an exception to the rule.

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    #6

    Re: Electric, Electronic, or Electrical?

    ----- I am not an ESL teacher -----

    Quote Originally Posted by Offroad View Post
    In my opinion, 'electronic' and 'electrical' mean the same!
    No, they do not share quite the same meaning.

    It is difficult to define them and tell the differences. But electrical is somewhat more simple and more rude, while electronic is somewhat more refined.
    From your examples, I wouldn't call washing machines nor dishwashers electronic devices, although I wouldn't say it is wrong. Of course there are many washing machines which claim to be electronic, just because of their modern electronic circuits. I stick with SothingDave's answer, nowadays the main point for a device to be considered electronic rather than only electrical seems to be its having chips (integrated circuits).


    PS1) A foreign language student must learn that there are few, if any, real true synonyms.
    PS2) One of the symptoms that you have reached an advanced foreign language level is when you begin to worry about synonyms.

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    #7

    Re: Electric, Electronic, or Electrical?

    I think the following is true:

    - All electronic devices are electrical, but not all electrical devices can be considered electronic. In order to be considered electronic, you need a "plus" (which nowadays comes mainly from transistors and IC's).

    Usually a lamp, for instance, is only a electrical device, not an electronic one. But when I think about an "electronic lamp" I figure it must have a "plus", it should be for instance an automatic lamp or a remote control operated one or something like that.

    Regarding the difference between "electrical" and "electric" it turns out, for me at least, to be much more tougher. I liked Offroad's explanation about it. And there are many many information about it in the Internet, just perform searches like "electrical and electric" or take a look on some good dictionaries.

  4. Offroad's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: Electric, Electronic, or Electrical?

    Very nice point, Ymnisnky.

    And ... rules are made to be broken:

    How would you explain 'electric bill' instead of 'electricity bill'?

    Ha.

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    #9

    Re: Electric, Electronic, or Electrical?

    I've found this old interesting thread, unfortunately closed, regarding "electric" and "electrical":

    https://www.usingenglish.com/forum/a...lectrical.html

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    #10

    Re: Electric, Electronic, or Electrical?

    Quote Originally Posted by Offroad View Post
    Very nice point, Ymnisnky.

    And ... rules are made to be broken:

    How would you explain 'electric bill' instead of 'electricity bill'?

    Ha.
    Hmm, maybe this is related to a difference between AmE and BrE.
    Take a look at this neighboring thread also started by Mehrgan
    https://www.usingenglish.com/forum/a...-went-off.html
    While Gillnetter asks who paid the "electric bill" (AmE), emsr2d2 points out he would have paid were it the "electricity bill" (BrE).

    I think it would be nice if other members could confirm this.

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