Submitted by silver on November 16, 2007

Skilled or skilful?

What is the difference between ‘skilled’ and ‘skilful’? Is it just a matter of collocation - the skilled craftsmen, the skilful footballer - or is there something more profound to it?


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@calvin mpilo - A skilful person is someone who is good at doing something, whereas a knowledgeable person is someone who knows a lot about something. Someone may be very knowledgeable about plants, for example, but not be very skilful at growing them, whereas their green-fingered neighbour might be very skilful at growing plants, although not having a great theoretical knowledge about them.

An art historian might be very knowledgeable about art but hopeless at painting; a self-taught watercolourist, on the other hand, might be a very skilful artist without ever having read a book on the subject.

The skilful person no doubt learns a lot through practice and so becomes knowledgeable about the practice of their skill (although not necessarily the theory), but there's no guarantee that a knowledgeable person is going to become similarly skilful at anything.

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How do we differentiate between skilful person and knowledgeable person.

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Efficient includes the concept of economy of effort and time--thus the job is done as quickly and inexpensively as possible. Effective includes the concept of usefulness and appropriateness--thus the job is done with an eye to the end result being beneficial. IMHO anyway.

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sorry, forgot to put the words: "efficient" and "effective"

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Is the difference between these two terms the same as for skillful and skilled above? Thanks.

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Thanks very much Ruricolist - that's very useful.

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A person can be skilled or skillful, but a thing can only be skillful. This is sometimes an important distinction: "skillful work" is work done with skill; "skilled work" is work calling for a skilled (or skillful) person to execute it. Also, only skillful has an adverbial form, so for consistency one may want to say "skillful" if one later intends to say "skillfully."

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