Civic vs Civil

Discussion in 'English Only' started by babybackribs, Sep 13, 2011.

  1. babybackribs Senior Member

    I'm wondering if anyone can let me know their opinion about the difference between the connotations for Civic versus Civil?
    I'm creating a tagline that describes a literary journal and I've wrestling between:
    A Civic Journal of Literature & Dialogue
    A Civil Journal of Literature & Dialogue
    The use of one of these two words is intended to refer to a citizen.
    For me, I think that Civil makes the Journal sound like it's behaving well. Yet I think that Civic Journal seems to mean "having to do with the city" as in public works.

    Can anyone offer me any insight to this? Am I over-thinking this? Should the tagline simply be "A Public Journal of Literature & Dialogue."

    The idea is that this Lit Journal will be sort of a high-hat, borderline snobbish publication...for writer's writers.

    Thank you for very much for your help, and please let me know if I can provide any other information.
  2. Egmont Senior Member

    Massachusetts, U.S.
    English - U.S.
    I don't think either "civic" or "civil" works here. How about "A Citizen's Journal ..." Or did I misunderstand your intent? If it's for writers, "A Writer's Journal ...?"
  3. gabrielnd Senior Member

    São Paulo, Brazil
    Portuguese - Brazil
    I would stick to the former one, Civic, since it can refer both to citizen and city, and the latter sounds exactly as you said, "well behaved" (moreover, it also gives the impression that a military version of this journal may exist).
  4. babybackribs Senior Member

    Thank you, both.
    I hadn't considered the militial connotation of Civil--thank you for that insight, gabrielnd.

    I think "Civic Journal" will reign triumphant (unless there are other suggestions).
    Since the idea is it's to be a "new old-fashioned," high-class publication so if the use sounds a bit Brittish and if the use seems a bit romantic, I believe it will work, in this case.

    Thanks again! :)
  5. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod (English Only)

    I agree with Egmont. If I read "A Civic Journal" I would assume that it was a journal about a city or about a city's government, not about a citizen. "Civic" modifies "journal" in your title. You want a word that describes who wrote the journal. Only "A Citizen's Journal" makes sense to me in this context.
  6. babybackribs Senior Member

    Civic modifies journal; and Civic can mean, in the definition perhaps closer to the original meaning/useage of the word, "relating to a city or community affairs."
    Does that make sense, or have we sparked a truly inspired etymological debate (which I'm not opposed in the least!)
    Let me know if the phrase makes sense given that context of the word? Thank you, JamesM!
  7. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod (English Only)

    Will the journal's contents relate to a specific city or that city's community affairs? If not, it doesn't sound like a good fit to me, babybackribs. A "civic center", for example, is a place where all the municipal government's offices are located. I don't think you want such a specific connection with city government.

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