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Preventive or Preventative

Preventive or Preventative

Preventive or Preventative

As in "preventive maintenance".

Some dictionaries cite both as acceptable.  I don't see what the extra syllable adds.

RE: Preventive or Preventative

The extra syllable adds much needed (for some folks) pomposity.


RE: Preventive or Preventative

There are several examples of this,

systemic, systematic
propene, propylene
ethene, ethylene

It could be pomposity, but it may have more to do with diction.

RE: Preventive or Preventative

Systemic: Of or relating to a system, especially in anatomy e.g. relating to blood system, nerve system etc.

Systematic:  Carried on using step-by-step procedures, or relating to classification or taxonomy

Regarding ethene/propene and ethylene/propylene there was a widespread clarification of all organic nomenclature some time ago and the old (and taxonomically weak) forms were replaced with a more formal structure. There is still some use of the old terms (ethylene, propylene) particularly informally. The three main hydocarbon series suffixes became formalised as -ane, ene and -ine with the appropriate prefix for the series member.

Good Luck

RE: Preventive or Preventative


RandomHouse gives the following:

 systemic   1. of or pertaining to a system.
 systematic 1. having, showing, or involving a system,
Regarding the suffixes you are correct, (I'm not sure if you are disagreeing or not) with the exception of the triple-bond nomenclature; it is -yne prefixed by the carbon chain.

C-C-C-C-C pentane (C5H12)
C-C-C-C=C pentene (C5H10)
C-C-C-C_=C pentyne (C5H8)

RE: Preventive or Preventative

How about preventative main-tian-ance.  I have heard it pronounced this way and therefore sometimes think it this way because it seems to make more sense but never spoke it.  I hope I am not guilty of saying preventative but probably have done it subconsiously.  Hey in other words I was asleep at the time or brain dead.

Sometimes the extra syllable just rolls off the tongue easier.  You know once the tongue gets rolling it can be really difficult to stop at times...........................................................................

Jesus is THE life,

RE: Preventive or Preventative

I am guilty as charged of using both, including the version with upgradation of pomposity.

Both are correct by the dictionary as I'm sure you know. I guess we tend to repeat the useage that we hear.

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RE: Preventive or Preventative


Thanks for the alternative -yne, which I had overlooked. This seems to be another of the European/US differences, with ILO (and other sources) giving both as alternatives.

With regard to systemic/systematic, I would differentiate between systemic poisoning, which is build-up of a poison agent within a particular bodily system, and systematic poisoning, which is a planned exercise (or system) of poisoning.

Good Luck

RE: Preventive or Preventative

Oh, all right.

RE: Preventive or Preventative

Hmm, without checking the dictionary (walking a minefield in this forum) I would have said that the difference between systemic and systematic would be that one was an adjective as opposed to the noun.

I would have said ..
The problem was systemic. (A problem that recurrs as a result of following the system)
It was a systematic problem. (A problem with the system not working as expected)

But as mentioned, without checking the dictionary.

RE: Preventive or Preventative

CanEngJohn : According to my dictionary, "systemic" and "systematic" are both adjectives. And as far as your examples go, one could also say "His method was systematic", which appears to nullify the distinction you are trying to draw between the applicablity of the words to specific sentence structures.

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