‘Historic’ vs ‘Historical’: What’s the Difference? At first glance, these words may look interchangeable, but knowing the distinction between when to use them is crucial. This article will not only clear up the difference between these words but also serve as a good review of suffixes that affect the meaning of words.
In a rush? Here’s a short overview of what’s to come:
So what does separate these two very similar words? Well, the first thing is their effect on a sentence.
As you may have guessed, something ‘Historic’ or ‘Historical’ refers to something that happened in the past or is very old. But, the connotation of the two words is different. If something is simply ‘Historic’ that means it was a significant past event, not just something that happened.
Need another trick to remember this distinction? Think of the rule of rectangles: every rectangle is a square but not every square is a rectangle.
One other main distinction between ‘Historic’ vs ‘Historical’ is the addition of the suffix “-al” at the end of the latter. The suffix “-al” generally means “of the kind of, like, pertaining to, etc.”
Now that you’ve taken a closer look at how these words differ from each other let’s dive a bit deeper into the individual meanings of ‘Historic’ vs ‘Historical’.
The word originates from the Greek ‘historia’ which means “narrative” or “knowing by enquiry.”
Phrases with ‘Historic’
According to Oxford Languages, ‘Historical’ is an adjective which means:
Synonyms for ‘Historical’
Antonyms of ‘Historical’
Phrases with ‘Historical’
Pronunciations: How to Pronounce ‘Historic’ vs ‘Historical’
Writing is not the only occasion that requires us to use language. In fact, more often than not, we are having conversations. Knowing how to pronounce your newly learned words properly is just as important as being able to define them — especially with words like ‘Historic’ vs ‘Historical,’ which you may use in academic writing or presentations. Let’s make sure you’ve got these pronunciations down pat.
Use this phonetic spelling of ‘Historic’ as a guide:
Use this phonetic spelling of 'Historical’ ‘as a guide:
How to Use ‘Historic’ vs ‘Historical’ in a Sentence
Given these words are so similar but do, in fact, have distinct uses, it is important to learn the proper contexts in which they appear. Learning the definitions can help you do this, but nothing is better than seeing new vocabulary words in action. Context clues are everything, so see if you can spot them in the sample sentences below, then keep practicing by writing your own.
‘Historic’ Example Sentences
‘Historical’ Example Sentences
Final Advice on ‘Historic’ vs ‘Historical’
Words that are subtly altered by suffixes can be tricky to sort out at first, but once you learn their root and how they change, you will master them quickly. Also, with words like ‘Historic’ vs ‘Historical’ it’s important to remember how they can appear in different contexts and that the rectangle rule is a good reminder of that.
Want a review? Here’s a recap of what we covered:
Want to master other confusing words like these? Be sure to check out our other articles to help expand your vocabulary and boost your confidence in your speaking and writing. Knowing academically geared words like ‘Historic’ vs ‘Historical’ are the key to being clear and precise in your work, so be sure to practice your sample sentences and remember your pronunciations.