Classic or classical? - English Grammar Today - Cambridge Dictionaries Online Cambridge dictionaries logo

Classic or classical?

from English Grammar Today

Classic: adjective

Classic means ‘high quality’. In particular, we use it to mean something that is valued because it has a traditional style:

She was wearing a classic dark blue skirt.

It’s a classic motorbike from the 1940s.

Classic also means a perfect or most typical example of something:

The show is a classic example of TV made for children.

Classic: noun

We can use a classic and the classics to refer to the greatest and most famous works of literature from the past:

Tolstoy’s ‘War and Peace’ is a classic.

I never read modern novels. I always prefer the classics, such as Dickens and Jane Austen.

Classics without an article means the academic subject which includes the study of Ancient Greek and Latin:

My sister is studying Classics at Manchester University right now.

Classical: adjective

We use classical to refer to the culture of the past and to art forms which belong to a long formal tradition:

Mozart is probably the best-known classical composer.

She’s only eight years old and she has learned to dance both classical and modern ballet.

(“Classic or classical?” from English Grammar Today © Cambridge University Press.)
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