Shu and I were talking last night about the difference between "historic" and "historical." You might say that's an "historic" trail, while it's "historical" fiction. In AHD there is a usage note that says that "historic" is a famous event in history, while "historical" means anything concerned with history or the past. Yet, I would never say that I'd take a walk on the "historical" trail; I'd always use "historic" in that instance.
Is this how you use these words? Why did these 2 adjectives develop differently?
But what are you referring to when you say "A historic trail"? To me that's a trail that is famous as well as old.
Just a couple of miles from me, at the top of Colley Hill, is the so-called "Pilgrims' Way" thus entitled as it was reputed to be the trail used by pilgrims travelling to Canterbury. Recent research suggests that this is untrue but I would in any case suggest that this is a "historic path or trail"
I'm new to this site, and usually just read others posts, but... here goes:
historic - historical
You use historic to say that something was important in history, or that it will be regarded as important in the future.
...their historic struggle for emancipation.
...a historic decision.
You use historical to say that someone or something really existed or happened in the past, rather than being invented by a writer.
...a historical detective.
Historical novels, plays, and films deal with real or imaginary events in the past.
...Richard of Bordeaux, a historical play by Gordon Daviot.
Historical occurs in the names of some organizations concerned with the subject of history.
...the German Historical Institute.
However, if you want to say that something relates to the teaching of history, you use history in front of another noun. You do not use `historic' or `historical'.
...a history book.
...a history lesson.
(c) HarperCollins Publishers.
But here's a simple way to understand the difference. Both (clearly) are adjectives, but historic is the adjective used to denote something that is old and presumably
significant, i.e., historic building, historic trail, historic event; historical is the adjective used when the subject relates to history, i.e., historical society.
Welcome, Andree! Nice to have you aboard...and please come back frequently!
Yes, your explanation seems to be how they are used. Shu and I just found it interesting that there were 2 adjectives that were so etymologically close that had such distinct definitions.
I was referring to a truly historic trail, Richard, like the old Route 66.
I can see whay Americans would think that historic - why, it must be over half a century ago that we were exhorted to "get our kicks on route 66":-)
After it was decommissisoned by the US Department of Transportation it has been known The Historic Route 66. Kalleh probably knows this because it start off west from Chicago. It was established in 1926. Not old by European standards, but historic in the context of the US National Highway System.
—Ceci n'est pas un seing.
More than MY lifetime . . . must be history!
"Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.
Thanks, Zmj, for the great links. Those pictures are priceless! As Shu and I drove back from St. Louis a couple of months ago, we saw large parts of the old Route 66, and it was so fun to read about its history on all the signs.
Thank you for the welcome... though I feel like in my very first post I managed to offend you somehow, because in response to my posting you said: "Yes, your explanation seems to be how they are used. Shu and I just found it interesting that there were 2 adjectives that were so etymologically close that had such distinct definitions."
I was under the impression you were actually looking for clarification (which I thought I could provide) because you asked the following questions: "Is this how you use these words? Why did these 2 adjectives develop differently?"
I will now bow out and let Shu and you continue your conversation. My apologies for having interrupted.
Please don't. There's no standing on ceremony here. Pitch in with any and all comments. I'm absolutely sure no-one's offended (though puzzled why you think they would be.)
We're one big happy (usually) family.
Stay awhile and joins us.
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andree, absolutely nothing wrong with what you said. We were indeed asking for clarification -- which you graciously provided -- and, if that wasn't available, for the points of view that others could offer.
Welcome, and please keep on talking!
PS to andree -- by the way, kalleh is my wife. And sometimes, when she gets to talking, she can blow at 200 words a minute (with occasional gusts up to 250). When that happens I am grateful for anything that might interrupt her.
Oh, no, not at all Andree. And please don't bow out. I am sorry that I have managed to offend you! Shu is right; sometimes I just go on and on...for no good reason. I was only trying to recap the discussion. Please stay with us, or I will feel so guilty for chasing you away after only 3 posts!