practicable / practical



It is easy to confuse these adjectives since they look so much alike and overlap in meaning. Practicable has only two meanings: ?feasible? (as in Sharon came up with a practicable plan) and ?usable for a specified purpose? (as in A new more practicable entrance was added to the house). Note that you cannot apply practicable to persons. Practical has at least eight meanings. These range from ?acquired through practice rather than theory? (I have practical experience using a lathe) to ?level-headed? (He has always been a practical guy) to ?virtual? (The party was a practical disaster). It also has the sense ?capable of being put into effect, useful,? wherein the confusion with practicable arises. But there is a subtle distinction between these words that is worth keeping. If you have a practical knowledge of French, you can order coffee in a cafe, though it may not be practicable to try to learn the language of every country you visit.    1



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