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I was looking for an answer to this question for a long time but didn't find any.

why is communication skills used instead of communicative skills?

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    communication skills are skills for communicating with others; communicative is an adjective that refers more to a person's attitude towards communication: He is not very communicative. Meaning; He does not communicate very well or a lot. – Lambie Apr 20 '18 at 17:46
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    Communication skills are skills which are about communication. Communicative skills which would be skills which are themselves communicative. – stangdon Apr 20 '18 at 17:53
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"Communicative skills" or "communicative abilities" can and does actually refer to the same concept as "communication skills". Here are some examples:

"Communication skills" is idiomatic. While it's more prevalent in general parlance, technical text does use "communicative skills".

  • Wikipedia says: This term is often credited to Jim Cummins' research related to language acquisition and learning. – Lambie Apr 20 '18 at 18:20
  • @Lambie, that use is still in the sense of "related to communication", and not in the sense of "willing to communicate". If you check the Cambridge dictionary link, "related to communication" is a secondary meaning of the word "communicative". It's just not very widely used in that sense. – urnonav Apr 20 '18 at 19:33
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Communication skills enable a person to be communicative.

The skills are not themselves communicative, that is, ready, able, and willing to communicate.

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    I am upvoting this as it shows the proper adjectival use of the word communicative. – Lambie Apr 20 '18 at 21:43

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