It was reasonable/sensible of you


It was reasonable/sensible of you to lock the door.
She is perfectly reasonable/sensible in her demands.

Do both of reasonable and sensible work in the above contexts? If yes, are there subtle shades? Thanks.
  • la grive solitaire

    Senior Member
    United States, English
    These would be my choices, primarily because of usage. The alternatives just sound odd to me. :)

    It was sensible of you to lock the door.

    She is perfectly reasonable in her demands.


    Senior Member
    They both work, but there is a difference in their meaning.

    "Reasonable", as far as I understand it, relates to the rationale behind your actions being within the normal bounds of people's expectations in a given situation. It has more to do with cultural norms or personal standards in regard to certain actions.

    "Sensible" is, to me, a practical logic applied to a situation that avoids sentimentality or impulsiveness. It is a judgment of a person's practicality in a given situation.

    It might be sensible to ask for a pre-nuptial agreement under certain circumstances, for example, but it might not be considered reasonable by all parties involved. :)

    It might be sensible for a woman on her own to lock the door of her car, keep her window rolled up, and demand that the police officer who pulled her over to speak to her through the glass, but the police officer might not consider it reasonable.


    Thanks, solitaire and JamesM, for your reply and analysis.
    The differences are really tricky and subtle that I have to run your posts through many times to grasp the key points.
    I get it now.
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