intense vs. intensive

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Senior Member

What's the difference between intense and intensive in the following?

intense analysis vs. intensive analysis
intense effort vs. intensive effort

I'd appreciate your help.
  • PaulQ

    Senior Member
    English - England
    They are usually interchangeable, and both usually mean [OED:] Raised to or existing in a strained or very high degree; very strong or acute; violent, vehement, extreme, excessive; of colour, very deep; of a feeling, ardent.

    However, "intensive" differs in that only "intensive" can be used in certain contexts

    5 a. Econ. Applied to methods of cultivation, fishery, etc., which increase the productiveness of a given area: as opposed to extensive in which the area of production is extended.

    1889 Nature 3 Oct. 558/2 The necessity for increased food productions calls for intensive methods.

    5b. Suffixed to nouns. to form adjectives. with the sense ‘intensively using the thing specified’, as capital-intensive, labour-intensive.

    1973 Nature 6 Apr. 378/2 Economies of scale have been operating in capital-intensive and graduate-intensive industries like chemicals, oil, electric power, steel, and computers.

    8. intensive care: a form of medical treatment in which a patient is kept under concentrated and special observation; so intensive-care unit, etc.

    1965 Math. in Biol. & Med. (Med. Res. Council) i. 40 He felt that patient monitoring was essential in the operating theatre and the intensive-care unit.

    Only "intensive" can be a noun.
    B. n. Something that intensifies; spec. in Grammar an intensive word or prefix: "It is very big." I am bloody annoyed!"
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