Michael Quinion editor at WORLDWIDEWORDS.ORG
Mon Jul 19 19:34:10 UTC 2004

Peter McGraw wrote:

> I seem to hear both "preventive" and "preventative" all the time and
> to use them indiscriminately myself.  Nonetheless, I wonder if any of
> our U.K. list members would care to weigh in on whether there is a
> preference on their side of the pond for either one or the other,
> perhaps paralleling the British preference for "orientated," which
> sounds hickish to educated American ears (as opposed to "oriented").

My elderly British ears demand "preventative", but a perusal of the
relevant article in the Third Edition of Fowler suggests that I am
out of step with reality.

A superficially similar pair that has caused me some problems is
"interpretive" - "interpretative". I was a heritage interpreter at
one time and this came up frequently, because the interpretation
profession here has standardised on "interpretive", but we regularly
received complaints that our syncopation was unwarranted.

Michael Quinion
Editor, World Wide Words
E-mail: <TheEditor at worldwidewords.org>
Web: <http://www.worldwidewords.org/>

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