Rational vs Rationale: Difference and Comparison

There are multiple words in the English language that are similar to each other in pronunciation and spelling but can change the entire meaning of a sentence. For example, rational and rationale are three syllabus words, but their pronunciation varies slightly. Their use in forming a sentence is also different since one is an adjective, and the other is a noun. 

Key Takeaways

  1. “Rational” is an adjective describing logical, reasonable thinking or behavior.
  2. “Rationale” denotes the underlying reasoning or justification for a decision or belief.
  3. Use “rational” to describe a person or action and “rationale” to explain the basis for a decision or belief.

Rational vs Rationale

Rational is an adjective that refers to something that is based on reason or logic rather than emotion. A person or decision can be described as rational if it is sensible, logical, and based on sound reasoning. The rationale is a noun that refers to the underlying reason or logic behind something.

Rational vs Rationale

The word Rational has been used in English since the 14th century.  It is an adjective that refers to logical thinking and providing a sane and reasonable explanation for a work or a decision. The synonyms of rational are wise, reasonable, logical, perceptive, etc.

The word Rationale has been used in the English language since 1657, and it has its roots in Latin. It is a noun that refers to formal and informal arguments or documents to support a big course of action or plans. The synonyms of rationale are reasoning, hypothesis, arguments, etc.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonRationalRationale
MeaningRational means someone’s ability to think clearly and provide a logical reason. Rationale means to provide a set of logical documents or reasons behind a big course of action. 
Part of speechRational is an adjective thus it can be used to describe a noun. Rationale is a noun and itself represents proper reasoning or documents. 
PronunciationRational is a three syllabus word and it is pronounced as rash-uh-null.Rationale is a three syllabus word and it is pronounced as rash-uh-nal. 
HistoryEnglish people started using the word Rational in the 14th century. The word Rationale has its roots in the Latin language but it started gaining popularity in the English language in 1657. 
UseA person is called rational when he/she seems to come to a logical conclusion and provides proper reasoning for it. One can present rationale either in form of legal documents or verbal reasoning depending on the profession. 
ExampleI am sure he has a perfectly rational explanation for what he did. The chief financial officer asked her to provide a rationale for the large expense plan. 

What is Rational?

 The word Rational is used as an adjective in a sentence. Though it has been used in English since the 14th century, it is originally derived from the Latin phrase rationalize. The meaning of the word rational is to be logical, think from a sane state of mind, and arrive at a reasonable conclusion. It is very commonly used in the English language to reflect the capabilities of a valid decision. 

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The word Rational is used in various senses. Some examples of how it can be used in a sentence are given below.

  1. He shows the characteristics of a rational man.
  2. A rational analysis leads to fruitful consequences. 
  3. 3/10 is a rational number.

In the first two examples, the word Rational is used in the sense of arriving at a logical decision or showing capabilities to make a wise decision. In the third example, the word Rational is used to describe a type of number that can be expressed in the form of p/q such that q is not equal to 0.

What is Rationale?

 The word Rationale is used as a noun in a sentence. Though it is used in English today and became popular in the mid-1600s, it is originally derived from Late Latin. The meaning of the word rationale is to produce a set of constructive arguments to support a course of action. It can be used to explain a hypothesis for a future course of events or a justification for something that happened in the past. 

The rationale is the representation of both formal and informal sets of arguments. For example, one can use the word when presenting a formal document as well as during giving verbal reasoning for events. Given below are some examples of how to use the word Rationale in a sentence:

  1. The judge asked the man to explain his rationale for stealing a car.
  2. A politician must always explain his rationale for his position.
  3. The rationale for raising the drinking age is prevention for reducing car accidents. 

Main Differences Between Rational and Rationale

  1. Rational means someone’s ability to think clearly and provide a logical reason, whereas Rationale means to provide a set of logical documents or reasons behind a big course of action. 
  2. Rationale is used as an adjective, whereas Rationale is a noun.
  3. Rational is a three-syllabus word, and it is pronounced as rash-uh-null, whereas Rationale is a three-syllabus word, and it is pronounced as rash-uh-nal. 
  4. English people started using the word Rational in the 14th century, whereas Rationale has its roots in Latin, but it started gaining popularity in English in 1657. 
  5. A person is called rational when he/she seems to come to a logical conclusion and provides proper reasoning for it. On the other hand, one can present rationale either in form of legal documents or verbal reasoning, depending on the profession. 
References
  1. https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/0-387-36274-6_29
  2. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/8157781/
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Last Updated : 13 July, 2023

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10 thoughts on “Rational vs Rationale: Difference and Comparison”

  1. Understanding the differences between ‘rational’ and ‘rationale’ is crucial. Rational is an adjective that describes a logical decision, while ‘rationale’ is a noun used to explain the basis behind a decision.

    Reply
  2. The differences between ‘rational’ and ‘rationale’ are significant. Rational is an adjective used to describe logical thinking or behavior, while ‘rationale’ is a noun used to denote the reasoning or justification for a decision or belief.

    Reply
  3. To use ‘rational’ or ‘rationale’ correctly is important. Rational is an adjective used to describe thinking or behavior, while rationale is a noun used to explain the basis for a decision or belief.

    Reply
  4. The differences between rational and rationale are important and must be honored for clarity and precision in communication.

    Reply
  5. The nuances between rational and rationale must be acknowledged to ensure accurate and effective communication. Rational is an adjective describing logical thinking or behavior, while rationale denotes the underlying reasoning or justification for a decision or belief.

    Reply
  6. The differences between rational and rationale are crucial. Rational is used to describe logical behavior or thinking, while rationale is used to explain the reasoning behind a decision or belief.

    Reply
  7. Rational and rationale are two words mistaken for the other, despite their different meanings and use. Rational is an adjective used to describe a logical decision, while rationale is a noun used to explain the basis behind a decision. Both words have different pronunciation and roots, yet they’re exchanged when they shouldn’t be.

    Reply
  8. The distinctions between ‘rational’ and ‘rationale’ are important. ‘Rational’ is an adjective that refers to logical thinking or behavior, while ‘rationale’ denotes the underlying reasoning or justification for a decision or belief.

    Reply
  9. Rational and rationale are mistaken for each other, despite their different meanings and functions. Rational is an adjective used to describe a logical decision or action, while rationale is a noun used to explain the reasons behind a decision or belief.

    Reply

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