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Rational vs Rationale


  • ‘Rational’ (adj) means ‘logical or sensible’.
  • ‘Rationale’ (noun) refers to a set of reasons that support a claim; the logic behind something.

What’s the difference between ‘rational’ and ‘rationale’?

With just one letter difference, it is easy to confuse these two words. Their meanings have a common theme of ‘logic’ as well.

  • But they belong to a different word class: ‘rational’ is an adjective while ‘rationale’ is a noun.
  • ‘Rationale’ can be used in academic texts as a synonym for ‘aim’ or ‘goal’ of a study/paper.
  • In Mathematics, ‘rational’ can describe something (e.g. a number) expressed as a quotient or fraction.

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How they’re used

Example sentences with ‘rational’

  • We propose a view of the consumer as a rational problem-solver.
  • We assume familiarity with the rational numbers and integers.

Example sentences with ‘rationale’

  • This was the rationale for monitoring environmental conditions.
  • In this chapter, we discuss the rationale for descriptive translation studies.