The New York metropolitan area has the most intensive concentration of home offices in the nation, with 17 percent of its households operating a business from home. (The New York Times)

After having read the Merriam-Webster dictionary, I cannot find a definition of "intensive" that explains how this word is used in the sentence above.

Is it proper English to use this adjective (intensive) in that context? As a learner, I thought that "high" is more proper, but, as usual, I'm unsure.

  • From Google's definition intensive: Concentrated on a single area or subject or into a short time. It would probably have been better to use intense, but let's not split hairs here. It's valid enough - but like OP, I'd much prefer highest rather than most intens[iv]e. Commented Apr 20, 2013 at 20:53
  • @Fumble, but if "intensive" means "concentrated on a single area", don't you see a sloppy redundance in "intensive concentration"?
    – user114
    Commented Apr 20, 2013 at 20:58
  • 2
    @ Carlo: Not really. There's nothing inherently wrong with redundancy in English anyway. And it's worth pointing out that semantically it wouldn't make any difference if it had just been has the most concentration of home offices. It's just that grammatically we don't like that version much. And once he's committed to using the word "most", the writer is a bit stuck for what to put before "concentration". I think actually he ended up with the second-best of a bad bunch. Commented Apr 20, 2013 at 21:07
  • 6
    He should have backed off "most" and gone with "the highest concentration", probably.
    – Hellion
    Commented Apr 21, 2013 at 2:03

1 Answer 1


As the comments tell you, intensive is an awkward and possibly redundant choice, but not an incorrect one, either formally or semantically.

Most commenters prefer highest with concentration:

The New York metropolitan area has the highest concentration of home offices in the nation.

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