Mandated/Mandatory

HolyUnicorn

Senior Member
Mandarin / the Shanghai Dialect
Hello,

OED:

Mandated

4. Ordered, obligatory.

Mandatory

2. Obligatory, compulsory; not discretionary; (humorously) habitual, typical, usual.


What is the difference between “mandated” and “mandatory”? Are they interchangeable in the three examples taken from the OED ?


1. 1944 Music Educators Jrnl. 31 17/1 The gradual encroachment of mandated subjects, together with the tendency towards the six-period school day, mitigate against the student electing music.

2. 1967 National Observer (U.S.) 3 July 13 Mr. Reagan must raise the money to pay off that deficit and to pay for mandated new programs.

3. 1994 N.Y. Times 5 Apr. a21/2 The bewildering feature of political correctness is the mandated replacement of formerly unexceptionable terms by new ones.
 
  • entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    'Mandated' is much rarer. I don't know if I've ever actually read it. 'Mandatory' would be the more usual word in sentences 1 and 3. In sentence 2, I'm not sure what the meaning is: would new programmes be obligatory? When politicians or parties are elected, they have a mandate: an authority from the voters to do what they promised to do. It is possible 'mandated' in 2 means this, instead.
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    "Mandated" has a special (related) use in American politics and government. A mandate is a government policy that states and local governments are legally required to follow. It will generally be in the form of a law passed by Congress. But, due to the division of power between the states and the federal government, the actual area affected by the law is something that the states are directly responsible for. They do the implementation because that area of government is directly within their powers, and not that of the Federal government.

    2. 1967 National Observer (U.S.)3 July 13 Mr. Reagan must raise the money to pay off that deficit and to pay for mandated new programs.

    If this quote is from 1967, as it appears to be, at that time Ronald Reagan was governor of California. So they are talking about some challenges to him in that role. One challenge is to find and allocate the amount of money need to implement those newly mandated policies/programs.

    To me the difference between mandatory and mandated is one of emphasis. Mandatory just describes that it is something that is required without going into how or why that is true. Mandated has the nuance of some official body debating and deciding that some new thing is now required.

    So in 1, some official government body passed a rule mandating that specific subjects have to be taught in every school everywhere. They are removing the decision from local authorities.

    In 3, it's not an official body that made the decision but it's a collective decision of social and peer pressure which acts similarly.
     
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    The Newt

    Senior Member
    English - US
    See Unfunded mandate - Wikipedia . Programs that are "mandated" (in the US, and concurring with what kentix has said) are ones that a legislature has required be created, but sometimes without providing funding for them. The programs are also "mandatory," in that they haved to be created, but "mandated" is a more specific term with specific political and legal connotations.
     

    jmichaelm

    Senior Member
    English - US
    'Mandated' is much rarer. I don't know if I've ever actually read it.
    It seems pretty common in AE.

    ..."mandated" is a more specific term with specific political and legal connotations.
    It is also used as a common word without any special legal meaning. However it does imply there is an authority of some sort doing the mandating whether that's a person in authority, a rule-making body, or simply social consensus.
     
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