alternate vs alternative : Common Errors in English

About alternate vs alternative

Although UK authorities disapprove, in US usage, “alternate” is frequently an adjective, substituted for the older “alternative”: “an alternate route.” “Alternate” can also be a noun; a substitute delegate is, for instance, called an “alternate.” But when you’re speaking of “every other” as in “our club meets on alternate Tuesdays,” you can’t substitute “alternative.”

alternate Meaning(s)

  • (n) someone who takes the place of another person
  • (v) go back and forth; swing back and forth between two states or conditions
  • (v) exchange people temporarily to fulfill certain jobs and functions
  • (v) be an understudy or alternate for a role
  • (v) reverse (a direction, attitude, or course of action)
  • (v) do something in turns
  • (s) every second one of a series
  • (s) serving or used in place of another
  • (s) occurring by turns; first one and then the other
  • (a) of leaves and branches etc; first on one side and then on the other in two ranks along an axis; not paired

alternative Meaning(s)

  • (n) one of a number of things from which only one can be chosen
  • (s) serving or used in place of another
  • (s) necessitating a choice between mutually exclusive possibilities
  • (s) pertaining to unconventional choices

alternate in News

  1. Dozing alternate juror gets Twitter buzzzz-ing

    Boston’s horrific tale of gangland murder, with all its bizarre plot twists, apparently wasn’t riveting enough to keep a young alternate juror from nodding off as James “Whitey” Bulger’s trial got underway yesterday.
    on June 13, 2013 Source: Boston Herald

  2. Alternate route map issued to guide drivers using I-78

      The Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission issued an alternate route map in an effort to encourage Easton-Phillipsburg (Route 22) Toll Bridge motorists to use I-78 as an alternate route once lane closures go into effect for a major...
    on June 12, 2013 Source: The Warren Reporter

  3. Alternate Reality Artist Gallery in Bay St. Louis introduces customer to new world of art

    The door to an alternate reality is opening on Main Street in Bay St. Louis as a new art gallery holds its grand opening.
    on June 11, 2013 Source: The Biloxi Sun Herald

alternative in News

  1. Alternative Investments: Unique Assets, Advanced Strategies, Inherent Risks

    By Hal M. Bundrick With the stock and bond markets in choppy waters, investors have been searching for life boats: an investment with an income component and upside potential. Alternative mutual funds -- or "alt" funds -- have been touted as just such a solution. These funds allow exposure to global real estate, commodities, leveraged loans, unlisted securities and other non-traditional assets ...
    on June 13, 2013 Source:

  2. Alternative Funds Are Not Your Typical Mutual Funds

    Alternative or "alt" mutual funds are publicly offered, SEC-registered funds that use investment strategies that differ from the buy-and-hold strategy typical in the mutual fund industry. Compared ...
    on June 12, 2013 Source: Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) via Yahoo! Finance

  3. Alternative school teacher arrested on obscenity, child molestation charges in St. Marys

    A Camden County alternative school teacher has been charged with child molestation and electronically transmitting obscene material to a minor.
    on June 11, 2013 Source: The Florida Times-Union

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