9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[pri-skrip-tiv] /prɪˈskrɪp tɪv/
that prescribes; giving directions or injunctions:
a prescriptive letter from an anxious father.
depending on or arising from effective legal prescription, as a right or title established by a long unchallenged tenure.
Origin of prescriptive
1740-50; prescript + -ive, modeled on descriptive, etc.
Related forms
prescriptively, adverb
prescriptiveness, noun
nonprescriptive, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for prescriptive
  • Hacker accepts the distinction linguists make between prescriptive and descriptive grammar.
  • In the common shorthand, linguistics is descriptive, not prescriptive.
  • Moreover, the results are prescriptive with respect to when and how such strategies should be used.
  • At the time the bill was described as enabling rather than prescriptive.
  • For many, a season's color card is as prescriptive as it is predictive.
  • Its generosity to needy foreigners is similarly prescriptive.
  • Ideology is slowly becoming rigidly prescriptive and political transcendence is becoming less and less possible or admirable.
  • prescriptive exercise to boost metabolism and the immune system is a clear benefit.
  • Power is also a scholar who is descriptive rather than prescriptive.
  • Critics say that so mechanically prescriptive a system can bore students.
British Dictionary definitions for prescriptive


making or giving directions, rules, or injunctions
sanctioned by long-standing usage or custom
derived from or based upon legal prescription: a prescriptive title
Derived Forms
prescriptively, adverb
prescriptiveness, 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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for prescriptive

1748, from Late Latin praescriptivus, from praescript-, past participle stem of praescribere (see prescription). Or formed in English from archaic prescript "a direction" (1530s), from Latin praescriptum.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for prescriptive

Many English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for prescriptive

Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with prescriptive