Why is that there are different suffixes of adj.?, but it seems to have the same meaning

Ex. Ineffective leadership and Ineffectual leadership

Is there any difference?


You're right: they are practically synonyms, but see this discussion on English Language and Usage

"Ineffective and ineffectual—both—refer to failure. But only ineffectual refers to the kind of failure that happens when the effort was weak, impotent, and/or incompetent. If a team of great lawyers fail to win a vigorously debated case, their efforts have been ineffective but not ineffectual."

From Oxford online



Not producing any significant or desired effect.

‘the legal sanctions against oil spills are virtually ineffective’ ‘a weak and ineffective president’



1 Not producing any significant or desired effect.

‘an ineffectual campaign’

More example sentences


1.1 (of a person) lacking the ability or qualities to fulfil a role or handle a situation.

‘she was neglectful and ineffectual as a parent’

  • Does this apply to all -tive(suffix) vs. -tual(suffix) adjectives? Is this in general? – John Arvin Mar 18 '18 at 11:16
  • 1
    @JohnArvin Don't try to generalize meanings of suffixes. There might be some very general connection that will not be helpful in a specific case. – tenebris2020 Mar 18 '18 at 11:37

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