comprehensive and comprehensible

Status
Not open for further replies.

NearThere

Member
Joined
Feb 22, 2008
Member Type
Student or Learner
Native Language
Chinese
Home Country
Taiwan
Current Location
United States
These 2 words are like twin brothers to me, or white men with blond hair---they all look the same. :-?


What are the similiarities and differences? When do you use one and not the other?

Thanks in advance


NT
 

stuartnz

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 16, 2008
Member Type
Other
Native Language
English
Home Country
New Zealand
Current Location
New Zealand
I'm not a teacher, but "comprehensible" means simply "understandable", "able to be comprehended", as in "because of his excellent education, his English was quite easily comprehensible."

"Comprehensive" technically means something similar. Here is the OED's first entry under "comprehensive":

Characterized by comprehension; having the attribute of comprising or including much; of large content or scope.

The bit I've made blue is the meaning most commonly associated with "comprehensive". It is listed among the later entries in the OED as "
Embracing many things, broad in mental grasp, sympathies, or the like."


So a "comprehensive education" is one that covers many subjects, that has a broad scope or range. Such a "comprehensive" education could make you "comprehensible" when talking on any of the subjects covered.

An extended use of this "broad, large content" meaning can be seen in the adverb "comprehensively", as in "today, the New Zealand cricket team was comprehensively beaten by England". Here "comprehensively" could be read as "thoroughly, completely, to a large degree".
 

albertino

Senior Member
Joined
May 27, 2007
Member Type
Other
Native Language
Chinese
Home Country
Hong Kong
Current Location
Hong Kong
My 2 cents~
Let me get it straight and simple.
"Comprehensive" is used to describle "persons" whereas "Comprehensible" describe "things". For example,
One often finds a writer's books more comprehensible if one knows about his life.
He is a student with a comprehensive mind.
(Not a teacher);-)(Hit the nail on the head?)
 

NearThere

Member
Joined
Feb 22, 2008
Member Type
Student or Learner
Native Language
Chinese
Home Country
Taiwan
Current Location
United States
Stuart, here are some thumbs for you. :up::up::up::up::up:

Always generous of your knowledge, I really appreciate that. Thanks a lot.


Albertino: My 2 cents~
Let me get it straight and simple.
"Comprehensive" is used to describle "persons" whereas "Comprehensible" describe "things". For example,
One often finds a writer's books more comprehensible if one knows about his life.
He is a student with a comprehensive mind.
(Not a teacher);-)(Hit the nail on the head?)

Thanks Albertino. "Hit the nail on the head?", was that comment for me? I had my head hit with a nail several times here, I've had numerous ah-ha moments. But I just want to make sure I understand it right.

So according to your explanation, this would not make sense right?:

Is this paragraph comprehensive?

Rather, it should be:

Is this paragragh comprehensible?

And furthur more, this shouldn't be true:

When she's nervous she talks fast, so much so that she's incomprehensible.

instead, use "incomprehensive", true?


NT
 

vil

Key Member
Joined
Sep 13, 2007
Member Type
Student or Learner
Native Language
Bulgarian
Home Country
Bulgaria
Current Location
Bulgaria
Attention: I'm not a teacher.

Hi NearThere,

There are some definitions and examples which I hope put you wise.

comprehensive = including all the necessary facts, details, or problems that need to be dealt with [= thorough]:
We offer our customers a comprehensive range of financial products. (What is "range" as a matter of fact? A "person" or "thing"(object)
a comprehensive guide to British hotels and restaurants
The following guidelines do not aim to be totally comprehensive.(Where is here the person?)

comprehensive review/study/survey/account etc
a thorough and comprehensive review of the case
a comprehensive study of alcoholism

Do not confuse with comprehensible (=possible to understand) or understanding (=sympathetic about people's problems): His report was barely comprehensible. | My parents are very understanding.

comprehensible = easy to understand [= understandable[FONT=&quot];[/FONT]

Her speech was slurred and barely comprehensible.

Script becomes untidy, can often become illegible, and only comprehensible given the surrounding context, the application of programs called PATHFINDER and BROWSE).
Perhaps, then "active citizenship" is more precisely comprehensible than "citizenship" tout court?
His uncertainty is comprehensible, but he appears to have jumped the wrong way.
The simplest and most readily comprehensible model of government hardly exists.

These two features combine to provide a comprehensive data retrieval mechanism allowing access to recorded information at any level, ranging from single…
However, once mastered, these skills are comprehensive and flexible enough to cope with a diversity of written material, in a variety…
Indeed, a recent and very comprehensive survey of handwriting recognition techniques and systems considered its significance to merit just one sentence…
A comprehensive study (although highly desirable) would involve much time and effort, and is….
A comprehensive set of basic arithmetic operations to manipulate fixed-point binary numbers consists of the following:
The most comprehensive account of the viscoelastic properties of polymers is given in Ferry's book
This report is a comprehensive analysis and critique of "Blueprint for a Green Economy" by Pearce.
You'll be relieved to see that there's a comprehensive migraine-specific treatment called Migralift, which is much more than just a painkiller.

Ten to one that you didn’t observe the Riverkid’s recommendation concerning purchasing of a suitable Longman Dictionary.;-)

Regards.

V.
 
Last edited:

NearThere

Member
Joined
Feb 22, 2008
Member Type
Student or Learner
Native Language
Chinese
Home Country
Taiwan
Current Location
United States
Vil: Ten to one that you didn’t observe the Riverkid’s recommendation concerning purchasing of a suitable Longman Dictionary.;-)

Vil,

You are quite observant. No, I haven't. I just got back from a trip barely. The first thing I did after I came back was to check the forum of this site, if this doesn't represent loyalty (loyalty that boarderlines addiction, may I add), I don't know what does.

So cut me some slack, will ya?:-|

Thanks by the way

NT
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top