base vs basis

Discussion in 'English Only' started by andymex, Mar 5, 2011.

  1. andymex New Member

    Croatian
    Why do we say on a monthly basis, and not on a montly base?

    What is the diference?
     
  2. Tazzler Senior Member

    Maryland
    American English
    Because the word "basis" has that particular meaning/usage while the word "base" doesn't. I'm sorry if that doesn't give you a more detailed explanation. :(
     
  3. andymex New Member

    Croatian
    Ok, but what is the difference between base and basis in general?
     
  4. sandpiperlily

    sandpiperlily Senior Member

    Take a look at the dictionary definitions and examples, then let us know more specifically what it is that confuses you about the two words.
     
  5. andymex New Member

    Croatian
    I had looked in many dictionaries, but I want to understand it clearly, dictionaries offer looong and confusing explanations on that subject. Thank you anyway.
     
  6. Alxmrphi Senior Member

    Reykjavík, Ísland
    UK English
    They are different words.
    I don't know why you are making a connection between them like they are somehow related.
    Yeah, they look similar, but so do cat and cater, dime and dim, prize and praise, and still no connection.
     
  7. andymex New Member

    Croatian
    Well they both have the same plural so there is a connection!

    If I was a native speaker I wouldn't ask that question!!

    Thank you. I will ask elsewhere.
     
  8. Alxmrphi Senior Member

    Reykjavík, Ísland
    UK English
    Not semantically there isn't.
    Having the same plural doesn't mean they are connected ;)

    It's caused you some confusion so it's best to stop thinking of them as connected.
    You can ask anywhere you like, you will get the same answer.
     
  9. JulianStuart

    JulianStuart Senior Member

    Sonoma County CA
    English (UK then US)
    From the dictionary (here at WR)
    (or on a monthly basis)

    Andymex - this is a word that has some similarity to "base" (meaning foundation) but, as explained in #2 has (developed) a very specialized meaning and usage I highlighted in red. If you look up "base" you will find many explanations of how and where it is used and they do not include the meaning in red above. That's why we can't use base in your sentence. In the dictionary there is also the link to see the words "in context" to help understand their usage.

     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2011
  10. andymex New Member

    Croatian
    Dear Julian,
    I knew the answer from the start (often mentioned expression in the movies) but I didn't know why is basis and not base in that particular exam.


    Could you help me one more time and tell me which one of these are true:



    The basis/base of friendship.

    Arguments that have a firm basis/base.
    Rates of work are calculated on a weekly basis/base.

    She used her family's history as a base/basis for her novel.
    His arguments had a sound economic base/basis.


    Thank you :)
     
  11. panjandrum

    panjandrum PongoMod

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    If you look at the dictionary definitions of base and basis, there is very little, if any, overlap.

    Please tell us which you think is appropriate in each of the examples you posted, and why.
    Then it may be possible to untangle your confusion.
     
  12. Myridon

    Myridon Senior Member

    Texas
    English - US
    Not really. :) The plurals are spelled the same but pronounced differently.
     
  13. andymex New Member

    Croatian
    Thank you Myridon, I didn't notice the difference in pronunciation. When you are not a native speaker you don't notice these little differences. To you guys it sounds normal but to me it doesn't and that's why I ask you to explain me in few words the difference.

    Could you help me one more time and tell me which one of these are true:

    The basis/base of friendship.

    Arguments that have a firm basis/base.
    Rates of work are calculated on a weekly basis/base.

    She used her family's history as a base/basis for her novel.
    His arguments had a sound economic base/basis.
     
  14. JulianStuart

    JulianStuart Senior Member

    Sonoma County CA
    English (UK then US)
     
  15. Cagey post mod

    California
    English - US
    Please tell us which you think is correct, and why, as Panjandrum has requested.

    This explains more fully what we require when you ask questions of this sort: Multiple-choice Questions - Which Option is Best?
     
  16. Severnica New Member

    Slovene
    Dear all,
    actually I have the same problem - I just don't see the difference. Maybe because in my native language we only have 1 word for both English expressions? So, I have a theory (after consulting quite some dictionaries): both words mean a foundation of something (so there is a link), however "base" in a physical sense and "basis" as an idea? My original quest started because I needed to figurate out whether to use "legal basis" or "legal base". But to me both seem the same...
     
  17. Cagey post mod

    California
    English - US
    Welcome Servernica. :)

    I think you have done good job of working out a difference. :thumbsup:
    It certainly works for "legal basis".

    We do sometimes use "base" metaphorically. For instance we say a candidate must appeal to his base [=the people who are his most loyal supporters]. However, I think your division is a good starting point. I don't think we use "basis" to refer to a physical foundation.
     
  18. Eratostene L'Alchimista Junior Member

    Italia, Italiano
    Dear all,

    I also have a similar problem regarding the expression "at the base/basis" in a figurate sense. Let me explain it better.
    I know the following sentence is correct:

    "I'll meet you at the base of the mountain",

    because it refers to a physical foundation of something (the mountain).

    But which one would you choose between the following two?

    "The thermodynamical reasons at the base of this theory are wrong",
    "The thermodynamical reasons at the basis of this theory are wrong".

    Evidently there is no physical structure here, but a concept ("this theory"), still I think the expression "at the base/basis" it is used here in a metaphorical sense, as if the theory were a physical structure with a base.

    So which one would you suggest?

    Thanks in advance

    E.


    P.S. I would like to drop a small comment to some people who answered "go look into the dictionary, the are COMPLETELY different words" to the non-native speaker who started this post. Although for you "basis" and "base" have completely different meaning, they are translated with the same word in at least Italian, French, Spanish and Croatian. Moreover, all the examples which create confusion are those where the word "base/basis" is used figuratively. Wordreference exists because it allows people to clarify these border-line cases thanks to the help of native speakers. If you answer "go look into a dictionary, you blockhead", then why are we even writing on this forum? Peace and love :)
     
  19. entangledbank

    entangledbank Senior Member

    London
    English - South-East England
    The base of a statue would be a better analogy. (That supports the statue; at the base of a mountain is a grassy field or something on the surface of the earth, not actually rock underneath the mountain.) Anyway, there could be reasons metaphorically at the base of a theory, but more commonly a theory has a basis (a basis in fact, or observation, or mathematical elegance or whatever), and this is such a common expression that the metaphor 'base' next to it sounds like a mistake for 'basis'. The reasons might form both the base and the basis of the theory, but 'basis' in effect blocks the use of 'base'.
     
  20. Eratostene L'Alchimista Junior Member

    Italia, Italiano
    so it's "at the basis of the theory", thanks a lot :)
     

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