Problematic vs. problematical

Problematic and problematical are different forms of the same word. Both mean (1) posing a problem, (2) open to debate, and (3) unsettled. Though they’re both listed in most dictionaries, problematic is more common in 21st-century edited writing. Problematical isn’t incorrect—and, in fact, it was the preferred form before the late 20th century–but it is an unnecessary variant.

This ngram¬†graphs the use of problematic and problematical in English-language books published from 1800 to 2000. It’s self-explanatory.

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