Key Difference – Pragmatic vs Practical
Pragmatic and practical are adjectives that are often used as synonyms. However, these two adjectives cannot always be used interchangeably even if they have similar meanings. The key difference between pragmatic and practical is their usage; pragmatic is mainly used to refer to a way of thinking whereas practical can be used to refer to people, concepts, objects, etc.
What Does Pragmatic Mean?
Pragmatic refers to how sensible or realistic something is. Pragmatic can be a quality of a person or a way of thinking.
Dealing with things sensibly and realistically in a way that is based on practical rather than theoretical considerations (Oxford Dictionary)
Dealing with the problems that exist in a specific situation in a reasonable and logical way instead of depending on ideas and theories (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)
They forgot to take two pragmatic concerns into consideration.
She pointed out that our son was very pragmatic.
They decided that needed to take a more pragmatic approach to the problem.
He came up with pragmatic solutions to several problems.
What Does Practical Mean?
Practical refers to what is real and what is possible. The Oxford dictionary defines practical as ‘concerned with the actual doing or use of something rather than with theory and ideas’. As this definition implies, practical can be used to describe an action. In addition, practical can also be used to describe a person as well as an object. For example, a practical person is a person who thinks realistically and sensibly rather than idealistically. The adjective practical is used to describe an object when the object is suitable for a particular purpose.
Practical can also be used as a noun in British English. A practical is an examination where theories and procedures learned are applied to the actual making or doing of something.
The following examples will help you to learn the meaning of this word more clearly.
He always gave very practical solutions to our problems.
She was a practical and sensible woman.
High heels are stylish, but they are not very practical.
She has a lot of practical experience in dealing with teenage girls.
Our teacher always gave us practical advice about life.
Although pragmatic and practical can be used interchangeable in some instances, it is important to note that they are not always synonyms.
He introduced a practical solution to this problem. = He introduced a pragmatic solution to this problem.
He played a practical joke. ≠
He played a pragmatic joke.
She has practical experience in this field. ≠
She has pragmatic experience in this field.
What is the difference between Pragmatic and Practical?
Pragmatic: “Dealing with things sensibly and realistically in a way that is based on practical rather than theoretical considerations.”
Practical: “Concerned with the actual doing or use of something rather than with theory and ideas”.
Parts of Speech:
Pragmatic is an adjective.
Practical is an adjective and a noun.
Pragmatic mainly refers to a way of thinking.
Practical can refer to an action, person, concept or an object.
Although practical and pragmatic act as synonyms in some occasions, they are not always interchangeable.
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