rationale

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  • machadinho

    Senior Member
    Português do Brasil
    OK. Here is one:

    To explain the rationale for mitigation, you would cite a) the potential loss of life and property damage. b) the potential interruption of business and commerce. c) the potential interruption of public services. d) All of the above.

    I am unable to grasp the conceptual distinction between reasons for and rationale for. Thanks again!
     

    Egmont

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    A rationale is, presumably, well thought out and logical so that it truly justifies an action - not only to the person stating the reason, but also to an objective observer. In other words, it is rational. A reason might be rational, but it also might not be.

    "I slept with this person because I was drunk" is a reason, but not a rationale.

    In the quoted sentence, the writer says that reasons for mitigation should be logical and well thought out so that someone else (it's not clear who that is from the quote) will agree with those reasons and will take some desired action.
     

    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    Thank you. I would suggest that the difference is subtle. Here's the WR dictionary's definition of rationale: a set of reasons or a logical basis for a course of action or a belief.

    The "set of reasons" would make the two expressions sound identical, but I think that "rationale" is more all-encompassing -- it's not just a few reasons, but the entire basis for a course of action. Rationale is a solid foundation on which action is based, while reasons seem to me to be more discrete items. If that doesn't make sense -- and there's every chance it might not -- let us know. Maybe I'll even think of a better example in the meantime. :)
     
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