Results 1 to 10 of 10
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Chinese
      • Home Country:
      • China
      • Current Location:
      • China

    • Join Date: Nov 2003
    • Posts: 2,715
    #1

    electric and electrical

    Dear teachers,

    I get confused by the meanings of electric and electrical.

    The following is from the dictionary:

    1. electric: using electricity for power:
    an electric blanket/car/kettle/light
    This is eaiser to understand than the next part.

    2. electrical: related to electricity:
    electrical equipment/goods/devices
    an electrical fuse/circuit/fault
    May I say the equipment is used to supply electricity or serve to supply electricity?

    And I can find both "electric wire'' and ''electrical wire''. Could you please kindly explain the difference between the two?

    Looking forward to hearing from you.
    Thank you in advance.

    Jiang

  1. konungursvia's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Canada
      • Current Location:
      • Canada

    • Join Date: Mar 2009
    • Posts: 5,158
    #2

    Re: electric and electrical

    Electric means it actually uses power, whereas electrical means it is related to electricity, but may or may not have any power in it, e.g. an electrical engineering degree (a piece of paper).

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Chinese
      • Home Country:
      • China
      • Current Location:
      • China

    • Join Date: Nov 2003
    • Posts: 2,715
    #3

    Re: electric and electrical

    Dear konungursvia,


    Thank you very much for your explanation. Could you please kindly explain the difference between "electric wire" and "electrical wire" . Does it mean they are interchangeable when collocated with ''wire''?
    Looking forward to hearing from you.
    Thank you in adavance.
    jiang

    Quote Originally Posted by konungursvia View Post
    Electric means it actually uses power, whereas electrical means it is related to electricity, but may or may not have any power in it, e.g. an electrical engineering degree (a piece of paper).

  2. konungursvia's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Canada
      • Current Location:
      • Canada

    • Join Date: Mar 2009
    • Posts: 5,158
    #4

    Re: electric and electrical

    Quote Originally Posted by jiang View Post
    Dear konungursvia,

    Thank you very much for your explanation. Could you please kindly explain the difference between "electric wire" and "electrical wire" . Does it mean they are interchangeable when collocated with ''wire''?

    jiang
    In such cases, yes, totally interchangeable.


    • Join Date: Nov 2007
    • Posts: 5,409
    #5

    Re: electric and electrical

    the difference between "electric wire" and "electrical wire" .

    'electric wire' refers to a wire being specifically used to carry electricity to some appliance; as does the 'electric wiring' carrying electricity throughout a building.

    If you went into a hardware warehouse, you might find all kinds of wire : fencing wire; wire used as stays to hold up structures; as well as wire that is specially insulated and so suitable for carrying electricity. The collective name for the latter is 'electrical wiring' to differentiate it from all other types of wire and cables.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Chinese
      • Home Country:
      • China
      • Current Location:
      • China

    • Join Date: Nov 2003
    • Posts: 2,715
    #6

    Re: electric and electrical

    Dear David,

    Thank you very much for your explanation.

    But this time I think it is beyond my comprehension. I believe your explanation is clear but I can't comprehend it.
    'electric wire' refers to a wire being specifically used to carry electricity to some appliance. But 'wire that is specially insulated and so suitable for carrying electricity' is also used to carry electricity. Or do you mean "electric wire" only refers to the copper inside? I give it up.

    Jiang


    Quote Originally Posted by David L. View Post
    the difference between "electric wire" and "electrical wire" .

    'electric wire' refers to a wire being specifically used to carry electricity to some appliance; as does the 'electric wiring' carrying electricity throughout a building.

    If you went into a hardware warehouse, you might find all kinds of wire : fencing wire; wire used as stays to hold up structures; as well as wire that is specially insulated and so suitable for carrying electricity. The collective name for the latter is 'electrical wiring' to differentiate it from all other types of wire and cables.
    Last edited by jiang; 27-Mar-2009 at 07:16.


    • Join Date: Nov 2007
    • Posts: 5,409
    #7

    Re: electric and electrical

    Don't despair. What I think is clear...well, I then get a rude shock because I haven't explained it as well as I should have.

    Say I walked into a warehouse with lots of reels of wiring. Some would be in the section "Fencing Wire" and could be single strands of bare wire, or as a mesh, with no covering over the wire. In another little section, there might be thin wire for hanging pictures etc. There would be different sections for the different wires that are meant for different purposes, uses.

    So - if I pointed to a reel of 'fencing wire' and said I would take a whole reel of that because an electrician would be coming to install all the electric outlets in the house I was having built... he would either be shocked, or laugh at me: I can't use that sort of wire because it doesn't have the plastic insulation around it. He would then take me over to the 'electrical wire' section that has the different kinds of wires and thickness of wires and lengths of wires (small reels, large reels) because that wire has been coated with a plastic for insulation, and specifically intended for electrical purposes - it is 'electrical wire' :wire suitable to be used for any purpose that involves carrying an electric current from one place to another.

    When we say 'electric wire' we are just naming what it is, a wire in your home that carries electricity. When we say 'electrical wire', we are specifically differentiating it from all the other sorts of 'wire' that you can buy - it is wire specifically designed and made for electrical purposes, NOT keeping sheep or cattle in a field.
    Last edited by David L.; 27-Mar-2009 at 08:22.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Chinese
      • Home Country:
      • China
      • Current Location:
      • China

    • Join Date: Nov 2003
    • Posts: 2,715
    #8

    Re: electric and electrical

    Dear David,
    It's not your fault but mine. I am too slow. No I can't move at all. Still, now I am trying to explain it again:

    Once I take "electrical wire" from the warehouse it becomes "electric wire". Is that right?

    Looking forward to hearing from you.
    Thank you in advance.
    Have a nice weekend.

    Jiang
    Quote Originally Posted by David L. View Post
    Don't despair. What I think is clear...well, I then get a rude shock because I haven't explained it as well as I should have.

    Say I walked into a warehouse with lots of reels of wiring. Some would be in the section "Fencing Wire" and could be single strands of bare wire, or as a mesh, with no covering over the wire. In another little section, there might be thin wire for hanging pictures etc. There would be different sections for the different wires that are meant for different purposes, uses.

    So - if I pointed to a reel of 'fencing wire' and said I would take a whole reel of that because an electrician would be coming to install all the electric outlets in the house I was having built... he would either be shocked, or laugh at me: I can't use that sort of wire because it doesn't have the plastic insulation around it. He would then take me over to the 'electrical wire' section that has the different kinds of wires and thickness of wires and lengths of wires (small reels, large reels) because that wire has been coated with a plastic for insulation, and specifically intended for electrical purposes - it is 'electrical wire' :wire suitable to be used for any purpose that involves carrying an electric current from one place to another.

    When we say 'electric wire' we are just naming what it is, a wire in your home that carries electricity. When we say 'electrical wire', we are specifically differentiating it from all the other sorts of 'wire' that you can buy - it is wire specifically designed and made for electrical purposes, NOT keeping sheep or cattle in a field.


    • Join Date: Nov 2007
    • Posts: 5,409
    #9

    Re: electric and electrical

    Do you have a regular toothbrush, that you move up and down with your hand to clean your teeth?
    Or do you have an electric toothbrush - one that works using electricity?

    Meat grinders used to be manual, and had a handle that you turned, forcing the meat forward through perforated rings that minced the meat. Now, I have an electric meat grinder, where a motor turns the cyclinder that forces the meat forward - it works using electricity.

    Some people have a heater in their home that generates the heat by burning paraffin. Most people, though, have an electric heater. It uses electricity to generate heat.

    Razor (that you use with shaving soap) or an 'electric razor'.
    Kettle that you put of the stove, or an 'electric kettle' that has its own heating element.
    'gas stove' and 'electric stove'.


    If I want to buy an electric toaster, and I go to a large department store, I don't go to the Menswear Section, selling shirts, trousers, socks etc. I don't go to the Furniture Section, selling lounges, tables, chairs, beds etc. I don't go to the Toy Department. I go to the Electrical Appliances Department, where they sell individual items that need electricity to work: electric toasters, electric blenders, TV's, fridges...

    'electrical' is one category of all the household items we have in our homes.

    In the wire and cable example, some wire is categorized as suitable for use in making fences - Fencing Wire. Some wire is covered with insulation and so is suitable for electrical purposes - it's category is Electrical Wiring and Cable.

    Note: we say 'electric toothbrush' to distinguish it from ordinary toothbrushes that you move about with your hand. Similarly, it is an 'electric blender' to distinguish it from a hand-whisk.
    We don't say an 'electric TV' because there is no kind of TV that works by any othr means other than by electricity!
    There are 'fridges' (that use electricity) but in parts of Australia where there was no electricity, people sometimes had 'kerosine fridges' because they needed kerosine to work. So, there were 'fridges' and 'kerosine fridges'.
    Last edited by David L.; 28-Mar-2009 at 08:59.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Chinese
      • Home Country:
      • China
      • Current Location:
      • China

    • Join Date: Nov 2003
    • Posts: 2,715
    #10

    Re: electric and electrical

    Dear David,

    Thank you very much for your patience and clear explanation. Now I see.

    Have a nice weekend.

    Jiang
    Quote Originally Posted by David L. View Post
    Do you have a regular toothbrush, that you move up and down with your hand to clean your teeth?
    Or do you have an electric toothbrush - one that works using electricity?

    Meat grinders used to be manual, and had a handle that you turned, forcing the meat forward through perforated rings that minced the meat. Now, I have an electric meat grinder, where a motor turns the cyclinder that forces the meat forward - it works using electricity.

    Some people have a heater in their home that generates the heat by burning paraffin. Most people, though, have an electric heater. It uses electricity to generate heat.

    Razor (that you use with shaving soap) or an 'electric razor'.
    Kettle that you put of the stove, or an 'electric kettle' that has its own heating element.
    'gas stove' and 'electric stove'.

    If I want to buy an electric toaster, and I go to a large department store, I don't go to the Menswear Section, selling shirts, trousers, socks etc. I don't go to the Furniture Section, selling lounges, tables, chairs, beds etc. I don't go to the Toy Department. I go to the Electrical Appliances Department, where they sell individual items that need electricity to work: electric toasters, electric blenders, TV's, fridges...

    'electrical' is one category of all the household items we have in our homes.

    In the wire and cable example, some wire is categorized as suitable for use in making fences - Fencing Wire. Some wire is covered with insulation and so is suitable for electrical purposes - it's category is Electrical Wiring and Cable.

    Note: we say 'electric toothbrush' to distinguish it from ordinary toothbrushes that you move about with your hand. Similarly, it is an 'electric blender' to distinguish it from a hand-whisk.
    We don't say an 'electric TV' because there is no kind of TV that works by any othr means other than by electricity!
    There are 'fridges' (that use electricity) but in parts of Australia where there was no electricity, people sometimes had 'kerosine fridges' because they needed kerosine to work. So, there were 'fridges' and 'kerosine fridges'.

Similar Threads

  1. [General] electricity vs. power
    By thedaffodils in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 19-Jul-2008, 06:08
  2. Replies: 9
    Last Post: 25-Feb-2008, 18:00
  3. What is the difference?
    By vv0510_vn in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 17-Dec-2007, 08:02
  4. -ic vs. -ical
    By Dr. Jamshid Ibrahim in forum Linguistics
    Replies: 34
    Last Post: 17-Sep-2007, 17:55
  5. Replies: 1
    Last Post: 05-Jul-2007, 16:18

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •