motivation and motive

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hplv1561w

Member
Việt Nam
Hello,
May I ask the difference between motivation and motive?
In Oxford and Cambridge dictionaries, they just say "a reason for doing something."
My feeling is that
- Motivation: a reason for doing something (positive) - e.g. a motivation for writing a book.
- Motive: a reason for doing something (negative) - e.g. a motive for a murder.
- Reason: can be used in place of both.

But I'm not sure. What's your opinion?
Thanks.
 
  • Icanfly

    Senior Member
    Italiano - Italia
    "Motive" is often a fact that happened. It happened that....-> That's the why/motive I.....


    "Motivation" is a (mental) reason that induce you to do something
     
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    Merrit

    Senior Member
    English
    - Motivation: a reason for doing something (positive)
    - Motive: a reason for doing something (negative)
    I don't believe that's correct.

    It may seem like that because we so often use 'motive' to describe why a criminal committed his crimes, but, in fact, we often use it in a positive sense as well. For example "My motive in standing for election is to fight government corruption."

    Often a 'motive' is a single easily-defined reason for doing something, while 'motivation' suggests a more complex interaction of various motives.

    2. 'Motivation' is also used to mean 'will to work / enthusiasm', like when a father says to a lazy son "You need to get some motivation."

    m
     

    hplv1561w

    Member
    Việt Nam
    Thank you Icanfly and Merrit,

    Often a 'motive' is a single easily-defined reason for doing something, while 'motivation' suggests a more complex interaction of various motives.
    This sounds a bit complicated to me.
    If I say:
    - My motivation for learning English is the desire to get a better job.
    - My motive for learning English is the desire to get a better job.
    Are they both fine, or which one is incorrect?
     

    Icanfly

    Senior Member
    Italiano - Italia
    In that case the concept is "motivation" (but I think it's better to say: "I'm going to learn the English language to...." or "I want to learn the English language to...")
     

    Perseas

    Senior Member
    Hello,
    May I ask the difference between motivation and motive?
    In Oxford and Cambridge dictionaries, they just say "a reason for doing something."
    My feeling is that
    - Motivation: a reason for doing something (positive) - e.g. a motivation for writing a book.
    - Motive: a reason for doing something (negative) - e.g. a motive for a murder.
    - Reason: can be used in place of both.

    But I'm not sure. What's your opinion?
    Thanks.
    I think that:
    'motive' denotes the means by which you may accomplish a goal
    'motivation' denotes the situation in which you are , which may result in accomplishing a goal.
    So, the difference lies on the focus you give at each time: i.e. on the means or the situation.
     
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    hplv1561w

    Member
    Việt Nam
    Thanks Icanfly and Perseas,

    - Icanfly: Could you clarify what "concept" you are talking about?
    - Perseas: Your answers are getting me more confused, could you give some examples to explain?
     

    Perseas

    Senior Member
    Thanks Icanfly and Perseas,


    - Perseas: Your answers are getting me more confused, could you give some examples to explain?
    Motives
    There can be :
    a.Surface motives including the fear of failure or the praise of success.
    b.Deep motives entailing an intrinsic interest in something and a desire for something, like reading someone not just for taking a passing grade, but for the satisfaction itsself he gets by reading.

    Motivation
    Motivation describes a condition/state full of motives.
     

    hplv1561w

    Member
    Việt Nam
    Motives
    There can be :
    a.Surface motives including the fear of failure or the praise of success.
    b.Deep motives entailing an intrinsic interest in something and a desire for something, like reading someone not just for taking a passing grade, but for the satisfaction itsself he gets by reading.

    Motivation
    Motivation describes a condition/state full of motives.
    I asked for some examples but you didn't give any.
    These definitions have nothing in common with the definitions by Oxford and Cambridge, how can I know if they are correct?
     

    Perseas

    Senior Member
    @hplv1561w
    I thought it would be better if I gave detailed definitions-- least of all for the first term.

    Anyway, here's 2 examples:

    1. The high interest rates are a strong motive to buy treasury bills.
    (The high interest rates function as a means, 'motive' , that can make someone buy treasury bills).

    2. The motivational state of an animal is made up of all those internal and external factors that have a causal effect upon behaviour .
    (The motivation is a state of motives, internal and external).

     
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    My perspective, for what it's worth:

    MOTIVE is a neutral, business-like term.
    MOTIVATION implies emotional and spiritual will and determination.

    The murderer's motive seems to be revenge.
    A detective's motivation to stay on a murder case could be the fact that his wife was also murdered.
     

    alex_ln

    Senior Member
    Polish
    Hello
    Would you mind letting me know which one is correct?
    "Rational motives" or "Rational motivations"
    Thanks
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    1. I did say do not to use motivations in the plural... :thumbsdown:

    A motivation is a feeling or conviction or belief that drives you to do something.
    edit to add A motive is the reason for doing something.

    Actor: "What is my character's motivation?"
    Director: "You character is cruel, heartless, unthinking and very rich, this is what makes him like he is."
    Actor: "But in Scene 3 he kills his brother, what was his motive?"
    Director: "His brother would have inherited the family fortune."

    Parents have to have rational motivations motives to have more children.
     
    Last edited:

    Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    Parents have to have rational motivations to have more children.
    I think it's grammatically correct, but without context I'm not sure of the meaning. Does it mean more than one child? Or something else?
     

    alex_ln

    Senior Member
    Polish
    I think it's grammatically correct, but without context I'm not sure of the meaning. Does it mean more than one child? Or something else?
    Yes it does mean more than one child; based on Longman dictionary, "motivation" meaning "reason" is countable!
     

    koolaid02

    Senior Member
    Korean
    How is 'motivation' different from 'motive' as in 'motivation to succeed'? Are they used interchangeably?


    "Still, advancement and production are limited because there is no incentive to achieve more. Without motivation to succeed, such as the ability to own an income-producing business, workers' human instincts prohibit drive and desire that is produced through such incentives. "
     
    There is overlap, but 'motivation' is more general and abstract, as in your example.

    Compare: His motive for killing his wife was greed--to get insurance money.

    Compare: The motivation behind killing a spouse can be varied, from the trivial annoyance to all-embracing hatred.
     

    thch

    New Member
    Mandarin & Cantonese
    Hello!
    Could you tell me what is the difference between motive and motivation when used as the reason why you do something? I have looked them up in the dictionary and I don't see the difference.
    Thanks.
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    Welcome to the Forum, thch!

    ​I have merged several threads on the same question (thank you, Loob), so look up for earlier discussion. If you question is not answered, feel free to add to this thread.
     
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