Alternate and alternative are sometimes confused, especially in American English. Is there a difference between alternate and alternative?
The adjective alternate means every second, every other.
We agreed to take the car to work on alternate days.
The verb alternate means fluctuate, take turns, occur after each other repeatedly.
Sunny days alternated with days of rain.
As a noun, alternate means a substitute, for example in a game or in a film.
In North American English, alternate is often used as a synonym of alternative.
The verb is pronounced as [-eit] at the end, while the adjective and the noun end with [-it].
The adjective alternative has two meanings. The first is different or possible.
There are several alternative methods to solve the problem.
The second meaning relates to something departing from traditional norms.
They chose to lead an alternative lifestyle.
The noun alternative refers to a possibility or option.
You have two alternatives: Stay in bed and read a good book or go jogging round the lake.
In North American English, alternate is often used as a synonym for alternative.
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