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What would you grade that mistake on a scale from 1 to 10 ? If someone said "historical" instead of "historic" and vice versa. ( 1-acceptable 10-totally unacceptable)
Jun 29, 2015 6:59 PM
Answers · 10
Well, the meaning of the two words is a little bit different. For example, a historic event is not the same as a historical event. Historic event = Famous or important event, sometimes people talk about events having the potential to be historic when they first happen Historical event = An event that happened sometime in the past. I'm not really sure how to mark it on a scale from 1 to 10. I mean the meanings are different but it's not a huge mistake, and it probably wouldn't cause a big misunderstanding because a native speaker would likely be able to tell from the context which word you meant to use.
June 29, 2015
Without knowing the context or the importance, I'd say it's a 1. Most people, probably me included, wouldn't know which to use. Most people listening probably want know or care if it were wrong, as long as the meaning is understood. That's the main point of communication after all.
June 29, 2015
It might not even be an error. It depends. I think I know the difference, but like Jmat I need to check to be sure. First I'm going to say what I think the difference is, than I'll check. I think that "an historical event" simply means something factual, something that really occurred, something that is in the historical record, while "an historic event" means an important event that "made history." Yes, I'm correct. Well, every "historic" event actually occurred, so all "historic" events are also "historical." The importance of any event is a matter of opinion. Any "historical" event can be "historic" to someone if they think it is important. It is historical fact that Idaho achieved statehood on July 3, 1890. Is it historic as well? Yes, if you live in Idaho, probably not if you don't. The only way I can see the use of the "wrong" word as being an error would be when talking about the present day. It would be correct to say "The decision handed down on June 26th by the Supreme Court of the United States was historic," because it was so important. In my opinion, it would be incorrect to say "The decision handed down on June 26th by the Supreme Court of the United States was historical," because it is still news rather than history. On the 1-10 scale I'd call that a 2. Maybe 1.5.'s usage note says "These distinctions are not always observed, however, and a historic tour of a city might include the same sights as a historical tour."
June 30, 2015
I'd put it as a 1. They're technically different, but most native speakers aren't even aware of the difference. I knew the difference in high school, but I've since had to google the words on more than one occasion to remind myself what exactly the difference is - and I'm a native speaker! Since it's a mistake that native speakers make, it's very likely to be overlooked . You and I should both still make the effort to use them correctly in writing though.
June 29, 2015
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