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  1. Vicky42's Avatar
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    #1

    Donation vs donative

    Hello everyone,

    I have a question about a "complete the sentences using the correct form of the word in capitals".

    The word in capitals is DONATE and the sentence is "The winner gave a big donation to charity." Now, there's another noun, DONATIVE, which is not listed in some dictionaries, but which is, apparently, a synonym: "a special donation; a gift".

    My question is, is it ok to say "The winner gave a big donative to charity"?

    Thanks in advance.

  2. probus's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Donation vs donative

    Donative is not a noun. The CoCA has no occurrence of donative, and the CBE has only one, in which donative is clearly an adjective rather than a noun.

    Also, as an elderly native speaker of AmE who also has some experience of BrE, I have never seen or heard the word donative.

    These supposed online dictionaries that claim "donative" is a noun are just plain wrong. It would take the OED to convince me otherwise.

  3. charliedeut's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Donation vs donative

    Although I'm not a native speaker, I've been learning, reading and listening to English for a long while now (Oh my! Over 20 years already!) and I had never seen/heard the word "donative". In fact, when I read the post title, I thought it was a case of "false friends", since the Word "donativo" does exist in Spanish meaning "donation".

    However, I did look it up in some dictionaries, and it surprised me that Merriam-Webster is one of those considering "donative" to be, primarily, a noun: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/donative

    Thefreedictionary.com (http://www.thefreedictionary.com/donative), colllinsdictionary.com (http://www.collinsdictionary.com/dic...kiePolicy=true) and Wordreference.com (http://www.wordreference.com/definition/donative) are also among such cases.

    The word does not even appear in macmillandictionary.com (http://www.macmillandictionary.com/s...sh/?q=donative).

    PS: I could not check OED myself (not subscribed), but maybe you'll have to change your mind real son, probus!
    Last edited by charliedeut; 03-Apr-2014 at 08:59. Reason: minor typo
    Please be aware that I'm neither a native English speaker nor a teacher.

  4. 5jj's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Donation vs donative

    COCA has only one citation for 'donative' as a noun, and the BNC has none. I shall continue to live without the word.

    ps. I had overlooked probus's post.

  5. Vicky42's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Donation vs donative

    Quote Originally Posted by probus View Post
    Donative is not a noun.

    These supposed online dictionaries that claim "donative" is a noun are just plain wrong.
    Donative is a noun indeed.

    And I wouldn't call Merriam-Webster or Colllins "supposed dictionaries".

  6. Vicky42's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Donation vs donative

    Quote Originally Posted by 5jj View Post
    I shall continue to live without the word.
    I intend to do so, too.

    But what would you tell a student who completed that sentence with the word donative?

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    #7

    Re: Donation vs donative

    Tell them the truth- the word exists, but is rarely used. In fact it is so rare than many native speakers won't have heard it, so donation is a better choice.

    Take the opportunity to show them how to look for word frequency in http://corpus.byu.edu/coca/ or http://corpus.byu.edu/bnc/ so they can help make informed choices themselves, and not simply depend on dictionary entries as absolutes.

  7. Vicky42's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: Donation vs donative

    Thanks for your answer Tdol!

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    #9

    Re: Donation vs donative

    Hi,
    Please note I'm not a teacher nor a native speaker.

    Google books Ngram Viewer is also a handy tool. Really rare word and for the last 150 years nearly not in usage.

    Cheers.

  8. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #10

    Re: Donation vs donative

    Ngram is a very useful tool.

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