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Difference between "Alternate" and "Alternative"


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Alternate
Alternate means every second one of a series or Occurring by turns. If you go for swimming on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Mondays, then you are said to swim on alternate days. In other words, you don’t swim every day, but on every alternate day.

The word can also be used to mean ‘one after another’; when things ‘alternate’ they take place in turns.

Alternative
The word alternative means one of a number of things from which only one can be chosen; it is normally used to refer to a situation when a choice has to be made.

Careful users of the language sometimes argue that this word should be used only when there is choice between two things. This however, is no longer true. You can have several alternatives.


Sample Usage

Alternate
1. The movie was full of emotions. It made me laugh and cry alternately.
2. Sheela told to her friend "Would not it be nice if we had college only on alternate days?"
3. They decided to meet every alternate day.
4. The meeting for the new project was fixed on alternate days.
5. Every alternate page details idioms.

Alternative
1. There is something wrong with the car. Our alternative is to go by metro.
2. Their maid has left. Now they are looking for some other alternative for their son.
3. Look for some other alternative. This is not feasible.
4. The washing machine is not working. I will have to wash clothes by hand as there is no alternative.
5. The taxi is costly. Alternative is to go by bus.


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