Graphic or graphical ?

< Previous | Next >

OlivierG

Senior Member
France / Français
Hello,

I'm a bit confused. In English, both "graphic" and "graphical" can be used as an adjective. What is the difference between them?
In the field of computer-assisted design, for example, should we use "graphic object/tool" or "graphical object/tool"?
I guess the answer will be also valid for almost any adjectives that end with "-ic"...

Thank you,
 
  • Artrella

    Banned
    BA
    Spanish-Argentina
    OlivierG said:
    Hello,

    I'm a bit confused. In English, both "graphic" and "graphical" can be used as an adjective. What is the difference between them?
    In the field of computer-assisted design, for example, should we use "graphic object/tool" or "graphical object/tool"?
    I guess the answer will be also valid for almost any adjectives that end with "-ic"...

    Thank you,
    Hi Oliver, this is what I've found in the dictionary. There are differences when adjectives end in ic or ical, but there is no fixed rule for this, at least this is what they taught me at school. :p


    The NEW OXFORD Dictionary
    OF ENGLISH



    graphic

    :arrow: adjective
    1*of or relating to visual art, especially involving drawing, engraving, or lettering: his mature graphic work.
    n*
    giving a vivid picture with explicit detail: he gave a graphic description of the torture.
    n*
    *Computing of, relating to, or denoting a visual image: graphic information such as charts and diagrams.
    2*of or in the form of a graph.


    :arrow: noun *Computing a graphical item displayed on a screen or stored as data.



    graphical

    adjective
    1*of, relating to, or in the form of a graph: flow charts are graphical presentations.
    2*of or relating to visual art or computer graphics: a high-resolution graphical display.
     

    Focalist

    Senior Member
    European Union, English
    Compact Oxford English Dictionary:

    graphic:
    1. relating to visual art, especially involving drawing, engraving, or lettering. 2 giving vividly explicit detail. 3 of or in the form of a graph.

    graphical:
    1. of or in the form of a graph. 2 relating to visual art or computer graphics.

    (The adverbial form of both is: graphically)

    Notice that, despite the overlaps, only the "giving vividly explicit detail" and "relating to computer graphics" are not common to both.

    It's my feeling that in computing, graphic (noun) -- e.g. a computer graphic -- and graphical (adjective) -- e.g. a graphical interface -- are preferred.

    I think it would be dangerous to attempt to establish any general rule to distinguish between -ic / -ical pairs in English! ;)

    F

    Edit: Pipped by Artrella -- who made exactly the same points as me. Great minds, as they say...! :)
     

    OlivierG

    Senior Member
    France / Français
    Thanks a lot for the info, Focalist.
    Well, so I'd have to say : "insert a graphical object", "you can put a link between two objets through a graphical line" or "To draw lines and curves, use the graphical tool"?
     

    Focalist

    Senior Member
    European Union, English
    OlivierG said:
    Thanks a lot for the info, Focalist.
    Well, so I'd have to say : "insert a graphical object", "you can put a link between two objets through a graphical line" or "To draw lines and curves, use the graphical tool"?
    Now here is where I start contradicting what I wrote earlier!

    "Graphical object" is right (but then, so is "graphic object" -- though perhaps somewhat less commonly used).

    "Graphic line" is more commonly found than "graphical line" (though, once again, both exist), probably because "graphic line" has a long history in (pre-IT) printing technology.

    "Graphical tool" and "graphic tool" both exist: the former is probably more frequent. Just to complicate matters, one can also say "graphics tool".

    To sum up, I'd probably prefer "graphic" where it refers to the art of drawing in general (a graphic line, as opposed to a line of text), "graphical" where it refers to the art and practice of "(computer) graphics".

    Confused? I know I am! :)

    Your best bet is carefully interpreted Google results. I fully realize that you can find all kinds of tosh on Google: what you have to do is carefully read the examples you find, see if they match your intended meaning -- and decide whether, on the evidence of the context, you can trust the source.

    F
     

    Nick

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    There is no difference in meaning, either adjective can be used.

    Insert graphic object == Insert graphics object == Insert graphical object
     

    gian_eagle

    Senior Member
    Peru - Castellano
    I wonder if that slight difference between "graphic" and "graphical" is the same as "technic" and "technical"...
     

    GenJen54

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    gian_eagle said:
    I wonder if that slight difference between "graphic" and "graphical" is the same as "technic" and "technical"...
    Not really.

    Technic is a variant form of the more common noun technique.
    Technic(s)
    in and of itself is rarely used.

    Technical is an adjective.

    Graphic and Graphical are both adjectives, although graphic is also a commonly-used noun.
     

    acme_54

    Senior Member
    English UK
    I think that in many cases both forms would be acceptable and most native speakers will have no trouble distinguishing when one form or the other sounds/feels right. Generally speaking, we tend to shorten things when speaking, so, for example "graphic user interface" is easier to pronounce and hence the form probably most frequently used in real situations, although the dictionary definition always offers "graphical". We must bear in mind that language evolves and changes; little, if anything, is set in stone.
     

    acme_54

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Would you say "graphic representation of a temporal sequence" or "graphical representation of a temporal sequence"?
    I'd probably use "graphic representation..." in that case, but I think they (graphic/graphical) are more or less synonymous, to all intents and purposes...
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top