Economic vs. Economical

How to use "economic" and "economical" correctly

This is an entry on my list of Common Errors in English Usage. Visit the main page for direct links to additional entries.

The word economic describes things having to do with the economy; something economical is inexpensive or efficient. Although economic can be used to describe someone who is thrifty (careful and wise in using resources), it’s better to use economical in such situations.

economic conditions
economic forecast

economic refrigerator
economical refrigerator
an extremely economical lifestyle in which nothing is wasted

Related Resources

Common Errors in English Usage: Errors in diction and idiom commonly made by native speakers of English

List of Common Errors in English Usage (PDF): Printable version of the complete list

Common Grammar Errors: A list of common errors in grammar (topics like subject-verb agreement and parallelism) as distinct from usage

List of Common Errors in English Usage: PDF version

© 2006, 2008, and 2019 C. Brantley Collins, Jr.