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Richard Gammons

Member Since

September 30, 2013

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Latest Comments

Substantial vs. substantive

  • September 30, 2013, 2:51pm

HI Will
I think you have it exactly right and discussing it with you has also helped clarify it -
All the best

Substantial vs. substantive

  • September 30, 2013, 10:06am

I believe you are substantively correct but, I believe, not entirely correct - just substantially correct! I reckon 'evidence' might be substantive - microscopic (DNA?) - but substantive in that it provides the 'weight' of the evidence/argument

Substantial vs. substantive

  • September 30, 2013, 6:37am

Think of the difference like this:
I tend to think in this regard of 'physicality' - what are the physical characteristics that I can relate it to. So, 'substantial' refers to 'volume' - in terms of political or legal argument, a particular aspect may get the most attention and number of words or time spent talking about it - that aspect forms the substantial part of the argument. However, 'substantive' is to do with 'weight', force or pressure. So, going back to our political or legal argument, the substantive part of the argument may appear inconsequential at first and not have got too much of a mention but at the end of the day it will be the aspect that carried the greatest weight with the electorate (or Jury). I think of the 'poll tax ' - the thing that probably brought Margaret Thatcher down or seriously tarnished her image. She may not have regarded it as substantial in terms of what she was 'about' but it was certainly 'substantive' in the electorates mind - it carried enormous weight. So, 'substantive' can mean the straw that broke the camels back or it may also be aligned with the substantial part of an argument IF the substantial part of the argument (greatest volume of words) is the persuasive aspect that carries or wins the argument. The substantial part of a speech may have been so much hot air but the substantive part may have been just one sentence - or it may all have been hot air in which case their was not 'substantive' part.