electric / electrical: what’s the difference?

This was sourced from http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=1620395 and adapted from the contribution by Imber Ranae dated 1st december 2009:

electric = runs on electricity eg. electric car, electric fan, electric appliance, electric guitar etc. It’s also used metaphorically to mean: exciting, energetic eg. the atmosphere at the U2 concert was electric.

electrical = having to do with/concerning electricity eg. electrical engineer, electrical wiring, electrical tape, electrical shortage, electrical energy etc

I’m sure there are many exceptions, of course, such as “electric company” for the organization that runs a power-plant. Sometimes the two words may be used interchangeably, as in “electrical/electric shock”.

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About Robert D. E. Senior

Fully qualified and experienced Professional English teacher / trainer UK native speaker BA (hons, first class) Linguistics and TEFL 15 years experience in UK, Spain and Austria FCE - CAE - CPE - BEC V - BEC H - TOEFL - IELTS Business, Academic and General English
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