What Are the Differences Between Historical and Historic?

When two words have a similar root or origin, it can always get a little confusing. This is especially true for the terms historic vs. historical. Although these terms may appear overwhelmingly similar, they are actually used in very different ways, according to specific grammar rules. To make this easier for you to understand and work with, here is what you should know:

The difference between historical and historic can easily be identified once you take a closer look at their meanings. Here are the proper definitions:

  • Historical: refers to a part of the past or pertaining to history. This word can be used to describe any character, event, place or item that belongs to the past.
  • Historic: this word is also associated with history. However, it is specifically used with people, items, or moments that are special or significant in some way.

Thus, if you are ever forced to wonder which is correct – historic or historical? Then simply think of what you are trying to describe. If is a momentous occasion in the past, then it will be historic. However, if is just another past event, it will be considered historical.

It is especially important to understand the different ways in which each of these terms are used in an academic paper. For instance, if you have to find history research paper topics for college students, then it is best to be informed of what each of these terms mean. It will then be easier to seek out the resources that are specific to your paper.

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Examples of Using Word Historic

Now, let’s see how to use historic so that you will be aware of whether or not to rely on historical or historic in your sentences.

The moon landing was one of the most historic events to ever take place.

The results of historic battles are still evident, even many centuries later.

Since the ‘h’ in historic is pronounced, it is more common to use the article ‘a’ instead of ‘an’ when referring to this term.

Examples of Using Word Historical

Want to know when we use historical instead of historic? Here are some examples to illustrate this usage:

Every time there is a fire in a library, historical documents get destroyed.

Some of these historical dramas on TV these days aren’t entirely accurate

As with historic, the article in front of the word historical is typically ‘a’ rather than ‘an’.

Examples of Using Word Historically

Historically is another word that is used to reference the past. It can be used as such:

That book is a historically accurate account of the events

Historically, the upper class has usually fared  much better than the other social classes.

How to Remember Historic or Historical?

Here is a more in-depth look at how each of these words can be used, depending on the situation:



Historic Fiction: A novel or form of literature that is incredibly well-written or well known.

  • Mark Twain was known for writing truly historic fiction novels

Historical Fiction: a literary genre where the books take place in a past time.

  • Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood is a must-read piece of historical fiction for any history fan.

Historic Humanities: there is no associated definition for this term

Historical Humanities: older humanities subjects

  • The historical humanities subjects have changed according to cultural and academic advancements.

Historic Movie: a movie that has made a profound impact on past and present audiences.

  • Citizen Kane is one of the most historic movies to ever be produced.

Historical Movie: a movie that is based on a real or imagined point in history.

  • 12 Years a Slave is a moving and important historical movie for all generations.

Historic Data: a significant piece of data from a past time.

  • The all-time low stock prices after the recession were considered to be historic data.

Historical Data:

  • Company shareholders will typically access historical data before making an important decision.

Historic Event: an iconic or memorable event that took place in the past.

  • The Gettysburg Address was more than a speech – it was a historic event that will be remembered for centuries.

Historical Event: an event that took place in a previous time or bygone era.

  • As far as historical events go, the G8 summit wasn’t all that memorable.

Historic Character: a character that stands out in history, is often fictional

  • Although the battle of Troy may not have taken place, Achilles is still a historic character.

Historical Character: an important or famous character in history, especially one that existed.

  • Abraham Lincoln is a historical character that people all of the world have heard about.

Historic Institution: an important or revered agency that was constructed in the past.

  • The FBI has been considered a historic institution, ever since its inception.

Historical Institution: an institution or agency that has been around for a long time.

  • Though not a part of government, the Louvre is a historical institution.

Historic Resources: a resource that has been especially helpful to scholars or academics.

  • There is no denying that the Rosetta Stone was one of the most historic resources for linguists.

Historical Resources: a resource that has been around for a long period of time.

  • Old libraries are some of the best historical resources available to students.

Historic Artifacts: artifacts that have a great level of significance in history.

  • Despite being a legend, the Holy Grail is still considered to be a historic artifact by many.

Historical Artifacts: artifacts that are incredibly old.

  • Most historical artifacts can be found in museums or private collections.

Historic Renovations: renovations on old places that stand out

  • The reconstruction of the Notre Dame after the fire is bound to be one of the more historic renovations that have taken place

Historical Renovations: renovations or reconstructions involving old buildings.

  • Historical renovations are complex and therefore must be handled by professionals.

Know how to structure your paper

  • 12-point Times New Roman
  • 0″ between paragraphs
  • 1″ margin all around
  • double spaced (275 words/page) / single-spaced (550 words/page)
  • 0.5″ first line of a paragraph
Proceed to order

PapersOwl editors can also format your paper according to your specific requirements.

Right Structure

All of the information here should help to clear up any doubts that you have regarding these two terms. However, if you still need with a paper or essay regarding this subject, then you should buy history paper as a guideline. Written by expert writers,  these works are often well-organized and contain clear ideas that can help you write your own paper.

Getting all the help that you can get, academically, can go a long way in helping you complete your degree or program faster. In addition, you will also be able to graduate with higher than average marks, improving your chances of success even further.  

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