Rational or Rationale?

by Craig Shrives

Rational or Rationale?

What is the difference between "rational" and "rationale?"

"Rational" is an adjective that means well reasoned or logical. For example:
  • That was a rational decision.
The noun "rationale" means logic, sense, or thinking. For example:
  • What was the rationale for your decision?
rational or rationale?

More about "Rational" and "Rationale"

Occasionally, there is confusion over the words "rational" and "rationale."

Rational

The word "rational" is an adjective that describes something based on reason or logic. It is often seen in the phrases "rational thinking" and "rational decision."

Examples:
  • Insanity - a perfectly rational adjustment to an insane world.
  • I've always believed in the power of rational thinking.

Rationale

The word "rationale" is a noun that refers to the set of reasons behind a course of action or belief.

Examples:
  • I think a legitimate rationale for war is the saving of human life.
  • In searching for a rationale to go to war, Bush settled on the notion of Saddam as an incarnation of evil.
Interactive Exercise
Here are three randomly selected questions from a larger exercise, which can be edited, printed to create an exercise worksheet, or sent via email to friends or students.

See Also

adverse or averse? affect or effect? Ms., Miss, or Mrs? avenge or revenge? bare or bear? complement or compliment? dependant or dependent? discreet or discrete? disinterested or uninterested? e.g. or i.e.? envy or jealousy? imply or infer? its or it's? material or materiel? poisonous or venomous? practice or practise? principal or principle? tenant or tenet? who's or whose? What are adjectives? What are nouns? List of easily confused words