historic vs. historical

On House Hunters this past weekend (yes, HGTV is my default channel), one of the homebuyers kept talking about wanting a “historical” house. She repeatedly commented on the various “historical” features of the houses they viewed. If “historical” were a drinking game, I would have been passed out before they got to house #3.

The reason for my fixation? “Historical” just sounded so wrong, maybe because it sounds so much like “hysterical.” I was quite sure she meant to be saying “historic.” Quite sure, definitely sure, without a doubt—until I Googled “historic vs. historical” and found I was dead wrong. “Historic” refers to something important or influential in history, while “historical” refers to anything from the past, regardless of its significance. Thanks, Grammar Girl, for the clarification. I stand corrected (she grumbled).

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