Critique vs Criticism
There are many pairs of words in English language that are confusing for those trying to learn the language. The pair consisting of critic and critique is one example where people consider both as synonyms and use them interchangeably. There is a common perception that critique is an act of finding fault with a written piece just like criticism. However, the reality is that there are subtle differences between critique and criticism that will be highlighted in this article.
Critique is a detailed analysis or evaluation of something. If there is an authority on a subject, new writers ask the authority formally to critique their works. In this sense, the word is used as a verb. People mistakenly take critique as a way of passing a negative judgment about something which it is certainly not. Critique comes from French and has roots in Greek word Kritikos which means to judge or to pass judgment.
Criticism is the act of pointing or highlighting the shortcomings in a work, person, attitude, belief, project, policy or anything else under the sun. However, criticism is not always negative as it is evaluative as well as judgmental in nature. In English language since early times, criticism has been taken to mean finding fault with something or someone. Criticism has always been polite, and there has always been a deliberate attempt by critics to keep their evaluation within limits not allowing them selves to go overboard.
What is the difference between Critique and Criticism?
While criticism is an old English word used commonly till now for evaluation or judgment of a written work or a person or thing, it got replaced by the French Critique during the 70’s and 80’s. It became fashionable to use critique in favor of criticism as if there is a great difference between the two words or, to get over the connotations that criticism suggested. It was believed that critique is not just criticism, and it presented a balanced evaluation of a work.
Critique is a noun but today it is used as a verb and in place of criticism. While criticism is believed to be fault finding primarily, critique is believed to be an objective assessment of something that includes both positive, as well as negative comments.
In general, critique is always impersonal and tries to improve something whereas criticism can be personal at times and many a times taken as an offence by the recipient.