9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[dih-stingk-tiv] /dɪˈstɪŋk tɪv/
serving to distinguish; characteristic; distinguishing:
the distinctive stripes of the zebra.
having a special quality, style, attractiveness, etc.; notable.
Origin of distinctive
1575-85; < Medieval Latin distinctīvus, equivalent to Latin distinct(us) distinct + -īvus -ive
Related forms
distinctively, adverb
distinctiveness, noun
subdistinctive, adjective
subdistinctively, adverb
subdistinctiveness, noun
Can be confused
1. individual. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for distinctive
  • It is the process of star birth that gives N11 its distinctive look.
  • Some family names almost beg for a distinctive given name.
  • Their location and characteristic patterns are often distinctive.
  • Great wines, almost everyone can agree, are distinctive.
  • Newspapers are becoming more distinctive and customer-focused.
  • With care paid to each image, this is a charming, distinctive primer.
  • This 20- to 35-foot tree has distinctive shiny green bark with white stripes.
  • The online medium also makes for very distinctive, even surprising bestsellers.
  • Those colors are as distinctive to each element as fingerprints are to people.
  • The animation is spectacular, with smooth movements and distinctive expressions.
British Dictionary definitions for distinctive


serving or tending to distinguish
denoting one of a set of minimal features of a phoneme in a given language that serve to distinguish it from other phonemes. The distinctive features of /p/ in English are that it is voiceless, bilabial, non-nasal, and plosive; /b/ is voiced, bilabial, non-nasal, and plosive: the two differ by the distinctive feature of voice
Derived Forms
distinctively, adverb
distinctiveness, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for distinctive

early 15c., from Old French distinctif and directly from Medieval Latin distinctivus, from Latin distinct-, past participle of distinguere (see distinguish). Meaning "markedly individual" is from 1580s. Related: Distinctively; distinctiveness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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