POLIT-IC OR POLIT-ICAL? (B1+)
Many adjectives end in -ic and -ical. It is not easy to say which form is correct in a particular case.
Some adjectives ending in -ic
Academic, artistic, athletic, catholic, domestic, dramatic, emphatic, energetic, fantastic, linguistic, majestic, neurotic, pathetic, phonetic, public, systematic, tragic
In older English, some of these words ended in -cal. Examples are: majestical, fantastical, tragical
Some adjectives ending in -ical
Biological, chemical, cynical, grammatical, logical, mathematical, mechanical, medical, musical, physical, radical, surgical, tactical, topical
Adjectives with both forms
A few adjectives can have both forms with no significant difference in meaning.
Examples are: algebraic or algebraical arithmetic or arithmetical egoistic or egoistical fanatic or fanatical geometric or geometrical strategic or strategical
Difference of meaning
Some adjectives can have both forms, but there is usually a difference of meaning.
Classic and classical
Classic refers to a famous example of its kind.
A classic French wine A classic event
Classical refers to the best art and literature.
Classical studies Classical music Classical literature
Comic and comical
Comic means artistic comedy. Comical means funny.
Comic verse Comic opera A comical expression
Economic and economical
Economic means the science of economics. It may also refer to the economy of a country. Economical means ‘not wasting money’.
Economic problems An economical car
Electric and electrical
We use electric with the names of particular machines that work by electricity. Examples are: electric heater, electric train, electric blanket, electric oven etc.
Electrical is used before more general words. Examples are: electrical appliances, electrical engineering etc.
Note: We say an electric shock, not an electrical shock
Politic and political
Politic means ‘prudent’. Political means ‘connected with politics’.
It was a very politic decision. (= wise decision) A political party Political career