historic, historical

The adjective historic should be reserved for people and things that are important, famous or memorable in history.

  • The historic Fortress of Louisbourg in Nova Scotia is a popular tourist attraction.

Historical means simply “in history,” “related to history” or “actually existing or occurring in the past.”

  • The movie Grey Owl was based in part on historical events.

In writing, use the indefinite article a before historic and historical. (In speech, the use of the article an is acceptable.)

  • July 1, 1867, was a historic day for Canada.
  • Robin Hood was a historical figure who became a legend worldwide.

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