economical or economic

johnwrowles

New Member
New Zealand
The newsreader tells me that cars are now more economical.
This does not sound right to me.
It is as if someone told me the problem was intrinsical rather than intrinsic.
Or that this forum was democratical.

To me economic would work better in this spot.
Interested in the opinions of other speakers.
By ear some words ending in 'ic' have meaning when 'al' is added, some do not, and some just sound as if the addition was not necessary.

e.g. logic, fantastic, rhetoric, cubic, politic, medic, obstetric, physic, patriotic, episodic, geriatric

I wonder if there are any useful rules here.
 
  • Kelly B

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Here's a discussion of the ic+al endings in general: http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=127599

    In this particular instance, though, I don't think the two words are really synonyms (although the WR dictionary entries imply that they are...) Economic is better used when discussing the economy in the broad sense, or with regard to the production of wealth. Economical sounds better in your sentence, I think, to mean efficient or inexpensive to operate.
     

    A90Six

    Senior Member
    England - English.
    Economical is the adjective of economy (avoiding waste, thrifty).
    Economic is the adjective of economics or the economy.

    Some adjectives can only take one ending or the other - Nordic, specific: spherical, numerical. There are no real rules, and there can be geographic(al) preferences.

    One general tendency is that ical is used for the adjective if the ic form can be used as a noun: logical, fanatical - adjectives; logic, fanatic - nouns (apart form public, which is both).

    In many adjectives the ic and ical forms have little if any difference in meaning. Some have diverged in meaning with ic being more literal and ical suggesting a tendency towards something: comic, diabolic, magic; comical, diabolical, magical. An exception to this is cubic/al, with cubical (not cubicle) referring to the cube and cubic to volume.
     

    johnwrowles

    New Member
    New Zealand
    Thanks for the advice team.
    I am not only interested in correct usage and origin but in actual usage.
    I noted that google has been used in this forum to justify usage patterns.

    "economic car" returned 55,700 entries
    whereas "economical car" returned 77,200
     

    A90Six

    Senior Member
    England - English.
    johnwrowles said:
    Thanks for the advice team.
    I am not only interested in correct usage and origin but in actual usage.
    I noted that google has been used in this forum to justify usage patterns.

    "economic car" returned 55,700 entries
    whereas "economical car" returned 77,200
    Google is used as a guide to current usage and abusage, but the results do not indicate correct usage.
     

    andersxman

    Senior Member
    Denmark/danish
    Concerning the below excerpt, is the usage of "economical" not incorrect? I would have said "economic" in both cases(?) (I've taken out the name of the company, hence the X's)

    "The mission of x, Inc. is to provide an easy, efficient and economical process for starting a hedge fund. x, Inc. will "Turnkey" start up and launch your own hedge fund; then, x, Inc. will provide your hedge fund with experienced, knowledgeable and efficient "Turnkey" back office administration at a reasonable and economical price. At x Inc., "x" means service ready for immediate use!"
     

    mgarizona

    Senior Member
    US - American English
    Jimp said:
    Usually, economical means frugal or thrifty while economic means having to do withe economics.
    Ergo, yes, you've used 'economical' properly. Though in the second instance you might want to consider swapping it out for 'affordable.'
     

    deafening quiet

    New Member
    USA
    I think that's pretty much correct. I think it would be incorrect to use "economic" as an adverb, so "economical" is probably the way to go. However, the rest of the paragraph is incorrectly worded, I think.
     

    panjandrum

    Occasional Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    languageGuy said:
    If you are really dealing with cars, then "economy car" is the favored by google - 104,000,000 hits.
    Indeed, although that is using economy as an adjective with a particular meaning that has nothing, really, to do with economics (unlike economic or economical).
    It means cheap.
     

    mgarizona

    Senior Member
    US - American English
    panjandrum said:
    Indeed, although that is using economy as an adjective with a particular meaning that has nothing, really, to do with economics (unlike economic or economical).
    It means cheap.
    I don't understand that. At a certain level 'economical' does mean 'cheap.'
     

    panjandrum

    Occasional Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    I was suggesting that when economy is used as an adjective the emphasis is on price, not economic value - as in economy brands of beans. The most economically advantageous option is not necessarily the cheapest.
     

    mgarizona

    Senior Member
    US - American English
    panjandrum said:
    I was suggesting that when economy is used as an adjective the emphasis is on price, not economic value - as in economy brands of beans. The most economically advantageous option is not necessarily the cheapest.
    :thumbsup:
     

    Oros

    Senior Member
    Korean
    1. He studied economics and works as an economic assistant for a compnay.

    2. He studied economics and works as an economics assistant for a company.

    Which is the correct one?

    Would you write the word economics as an adjective?
     

    panjandrum

    Occasional Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Easy question - it all depends on what the company uses for the job title:)

    Is economics an adjective in, "My daughter is an economics graduate,"?
     

    mgarizona

    Senior Member
    US - American English
    Oros said:
    1. He studied economics and works as an economic assistant for a compnay.

    2. He studied economics and works as an economics assistant for a company.

    Which is the correct one?

    Would you write the word economics as an adjective?
    As P notes, companies can title their positions anything they like, but the most obvious title would be Assistant (or some variant thereof) Economist.
     

    Kelly B

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Backing up a bit:
    An economy car is inexpensive to purchase in the first place. It may or may not be economical to run and maintain. Usually these cars get good mileage, so they are economical with respect to fuel, but they may not be reliable - you might spend a lot of money getting them fixed.

    An economical car, on the other hand, may or may not be inexpensive to purchase. A Toyota Prius is not an economy car, but it is economical, because with its high reliability and mileage, it is very inexpensive to operate and maintain.
     

    Oros

    Senior Member
    Korean
    You will say he is an economics professor.

    You won't say he is an economic professor, will you?

    You have said it depends on the way company looks at the title. However, when it comes to the academic title, you don't have a choice.

    Please tell me if I am wrong.

    My daughter is an economics graduate.
    Would you write the following too?
    My daughter is a graduate of economics? [This sounds odd to my ears.]
     

    Kelly B

    Senior Member
    USA English
    I'm not completely sure I understand the question, but if he teaches economics at a university, then yes, he is an economics professor, or professor of economics.

    I'd say that your daughter is a graduate in economics, yes.
     

    Oros

    Senior Member
    Korean
    So it would be incorrect to say a person is a graduate of economics.
    It should be a graduate in economics.
     

    panjandrum

    Occasional Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    I wouldn't describe my daughter as a graduate in/of economics.
    That sounds really strange.
    She's an economics graduate.
    She studied economics.
    I am an engineering graduate.
    I studied engineering.
    I am a law graduate.
    I studied law.
    I am a psychology graduate.
    I studied psychology.
    You've got the pattern by now...;)
     

    Oros

    Senior Member
    Korean
    This is very interesting panjadrum. Because in English we say the following:

    1. He is a professor of economics.

    2. He is a lecturer of economics. [ This is not correct.]

    3. He is a lecturer in economics. [ This is the correct one.]

    Now you are telling me 'she is a graduate in/of economics' sounds odd.

    Moreover, when it comes to the word teacher, you should stick to the preposition 'of'.

    He is a teacher in economics. [ This is not correct.]
    He is a teacher of economics. [ This is the correct one.]}
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top