historic or historical centre of the city

sunnymood

Member
Russian
Dear friends,

Can you help me, please?

How can I say correctly:

'When you visit ... you should go to the historic or historical centre of the city where you can see many interesting buildings.'


Thank you in advance!
 
  • pob14

    Senior Member
    American English
    From our dictionary here:

    Historic and historical are used in slightly different ways. Historic means ‘famous or important in history’ (a historic occasion), whereas historical chiefly means ‘concerning history’ (historical evidence).

    There are also numerous other threads on this topic, cited there.
     

    Natali Businka

    Member
    Ukrainian - Ukraine
    Added to previous thread.
    Cagey, moderator

    Hello,

    My niece is studying big cities of Ukraine in English and I noticed that her teacher describing the centre of Lviv used "historical". I think it is a mistake.

    "Lviv is a big city in Ukraine. It has narrow old streets.
    Its historical centre makes Lviv the best place in our country".

    I think better to use "historic" as it is likely to be important in history. "Its historic centre makes Lviv the best place in our country"
    Historical is related to history, e.g. historical events.

    Is it correct?

    Thank you.
     
    Last edited by a moderator:

    DonnyB

    Member Emeritus
    English UK Southern Standard English
    Yes, it is. :) I'll quote the relevant usage note from Oxford Dictionaries for you:

    Historic and historical are used in slightly different ways. Historic means ‘famous or important in history’, as in a historic occasion, whereas historical means ‘concerning history or historical events’, as in historical evidence: thus a historic event is one that was very important, whereas a historical event is something that happened in the past.
     

    zaffy

    Senior Member
    Polish
    There is a village where a medieval mill is located. Understandably, that mill has became a landmark. Now is the landmark historic or historical? I just checked the OXFORD dictionary of collocations and it says both are possible. How come?

     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    Interesting! The adjective historical appeared about 1495, 100 years before the adjective historic. Historic had appeared as a noun (a book about history) around 1560. They started to be confused, as adjectives, almost immediately.

    The distinctions, if there were/are any, have been chiefly lost and may depend on whether either adjective is used attributively or predicatively and even then, the use is not regular.

    One possible distinction might be in:

    The two presidents came to an historic (one that creates history) agreement.
    The historical (relating to the past) agreement had been that both countries could fish in the river which formed the border, the new agreement divided the river north and south with the northern country having the northern part of the river.

    It is less clear (if it exists) in

    The historic landscape (that exists in the present as it did in history) before you is exactly as it would have appeared to a man in the 10th century
    The historical landscape (that existed only in history), which was rural, has long since gone and is now replaced by houses and factories.

    The above landscape example is how I would probably use the two words, but I'm not sure that I would raise an eyebrow if they were exchanged.

    (If you want another word, there is historial (belonging to history, or of history) - fortunately, it is very rare.)
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I think the simple answer is that historical is widely (mis)used to mean the same as historic, even though that’s not its “official” definition.
     

    EdisonBhola

    Senior Member
    Korean
    Should Egypt be called a historic or historical country then?

    Based on the discussion above, I think Egypt should be called a historic country because the country is important in the history of mankind. It's not historical, in the strictest sense of the word, because Egypt still exists.

    Is my analysis correct? :)
     

    analeeh

    Senior Member
    English - UK
    Should Egypt be called a historic or historical country then?

    Based on the discussion above, I think Egypt should be called a historic country because the country is important in the history of mankind. It's not historical, in the strictest sense of the word, because Egypt still exists.

    Is my analysis correct? :)

    Describing a country as 'historic' sounds strange to me.

    'Historical' would, as you noted, imply that Egypt no longer existed.
     

    EdisonBhola

    Senior Member
    Korean
    Describing a country as 'historic' sounds strange to me.

    'Historical' would, as you noted, imply that Egypt no longer existed.
    My question actually stems from a grammar workbook which doesn't have model answers:

    I'm now in Egypt! I had planned this trip for so long and I was so thrilled to be able to visit this ____ (history) and mysterious country..

    We are required to change the part of speech of "history" and I'm not entirely sure which to use.
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Unless you’re allowed a little leeway in how you write it, in which case it would be nice to say something like …

    thrilled to be able to visit this mysterious country, steeped in history / this mystery- and history-rich country
     
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