Tuesday, June 5, 2012

forceful/forcible/forced: Common Errors in English Usage Entry for Tuesday, June 5, 2012

These words sometimes overlap, but generally “forceful” means “powerful” (“he imposed his forceful personality on the lions”) while “forcible” must be used instead to describe the use of force (“the burglar made a forcible entry into the apartment”). “Forced” is often used for the latter purpose, but some prefer to reserve this word to describe something that is done or decided upon as a result of outside causes without necessarily being violent: “a forced landing,” “a forced smile,” “forced labor.”

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