Problematic vs. problematical

Photo of author


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 2019. It’s self-explanatory.

problematic vs problematical English

Comments are closed.

Help Us Improve!

Help Us Improve!

- Did we make a mistake?
- Do you have feedback or suggestions on how we can improve?

press Enter

Use Shift+Tab to go back