Historic or Historical?
Historic or Historical?What is the difference between "historic" and "historical"?
- Historic means "having importance in history."
- Historical means "from the past" or "relating to history."
More about "Historic" and "Historical"The words "historic" and "historical" are close in meaning, but their uses are quite different.
Examples with "Historic" and "Historical"The adjective "historic" means "having importance in history" or "having influence on history." The adjective "historical" means "having taken place in history," "from the past," or "pertaining to history."
Below are three pairs of similar-looking sentences to help highlight the difference:
- This is a historical event. (one that happened in the past)
- This is a historic event. (one that is important in history, e.g., the Moon landing)
- He was a historical scholar. (A scholar who studied history)
- He was a historic scholar. (A scholar who was important in history, e.g., Homer)
- The bones were of historical significance. (significant from a perspective of history, i.e., possibly worthless but important to study history)
- The bones were of historic significance. (very significant, i.e., important in history)
An Historical or a Historical?Letters and sounds do not always correlate in English.
When pronouncing the words "historic" and "historical," the accent falls on the second syllable, and many pronounce them as starting with a vowel. For those people, it is appropriate to use "an" before "historic" and "historical." Therefore, you have a choice depending on what sounds better for you. There is a lot of leniency on this issue. If you're still unsure, opt for "a historical" and "a historic" as these remain preferable - especially in formal writing.