Wednesday, July 23, 2008

"Preventive" and "Preventative"

Levels of Distractibility: Who cares? = *. Some people will be distracted from your meaning: = **. Many people will be distracted from your meaning: = ***.

Question: What's wrong with using the word "preventative"?

Answer: Sounds pompous. By adding an extra syllable to "preventive" you are trying to make yourself sound important. "Be sure to use preventive (not "preventative") measures against skin cancer."

Rating of Distraction: **. I know that "preventative" is in the dictionary. When you can use "preventive," why use the extra syllable? Those who appreciate clear, concise language will be nauseated by the use of the word "preventative." RayS., the language curmudgeon.

1 comment:

fnj2002 said...

With respect, I think you missed the main point about preventive vs preventative. Surely preventive is an adjective and preventative is a noun. I realize the dictionary has relaxed all standards and accepts both words as both parts of speech, but I think it's just part of the general descent into stupidity. I wish I had a really old dictionary.