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English Vocabulary - Vocabulario de inglés
ALTERNATE OR ALTERNATIVE?
Key
Alternate means 'one after the other, in turns'.
Alternative refers to a choice between two things.
The adverbs are alternately and alternatively.

In the USA they prefer to use alternate in both cases, while in the UK they make a clear distinction between alternate and alternative.
Alternate significa 'uno después del otro, en turnos'.
Alternative se refiere a una opción entre dos cosas.
Los adverbios son alternately y alternatively.

En los Estados Unidos prefieren usar alternate en ambos casos, mientras que en el Reino Unido hacen una distinción clara entre alternate y alternative.
  • alternate, alternately
    The boys must take alternate turns on the computer (=one after the other).
    The poker players alternately delt cards from the pack (=took turns at dealing the cards).

  • alternative, alternatively
    If we can't go by car, our only alternative is the train (=the other option).
    Luckily, I have an alternative car if this one doesn't start.
    I might eat pizza tonight, or alternatively I might eat steak.

 

We thank Francis Dixon-Clarke (from Sao Paulo, Brazil) for his contribution.

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