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HomeLanguage Learning“Fictional” vs. “Fictive” vs. “Fictitious”: What’s the Distinction?

“Fictional” vs. “Fictive” vs. “Fictitious”: What’s the Distinction?

Typically, two phrases with the identical which means can have totally different connotations—i.e., implied meanings. For instance, for those who lookup the phrase fearless in a thesaurus, you’ll see each brave and cocky listed as synonyms. Nonetheless, for those who name somebody cocky after they do one thing heroic, you might offend them for the reason that connotation connected to cocky is “an inclination to overestimate one’s skills.”

The adjectives fictional, fictitious, and fictive all describe one thing unfaithful and overlap in utilization, however in addition they have totally different shades of which means. Figuring out which one you need for a selected function may help your writing be extra exact, so it’s helpful to study the definitions of every.

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What do fictional, fictitious, and fictive imply?


The phrase fictional means invented by the creativeness; that is the phrase we mostly use to explain works of fiction—e.g., novels, TV reveals, films, and performs.

  • Though Felipa’s new ebook is fictional, it has autobiographical parts.
  • Some citation of track lyrics as a part of a fictional narrative is roofed by the truthful use doctrine.
  • Atticus Finch is likely one of the most beloved fictional characters of all time.


Fictitious is used to confer with one thing fabricated or imaginary, typically within the context of actual life.

  • The movie star’s assistant used a fictitious title when making resort reservations for her.
  • The story the five-year-old advised about being chased by a rat turned out to be fictitious.
  • The job utility course of included making a slogan for a fictitious firm.


Fictive might be the least generally used of those three adjectives and the slipperiest in which means. In keeping with Garner’s Trendy American Utilization, in its narrowest sense, fictive means having imaginative potential, as within the following instance:

Erica’s artistic writing academics thought she demonstrated an actual fictive expertise.

In on a regular basis utilization, fictive additionally refers to an object or entity invented for a selected function—for instance, a city that exists solely in a play or a determine in a memoir who’s a composite of assorted individuals. The phrase can also be used to suggest a heightened sense of fictionality. Lastly, you probably have an in depth pal whom you name a cousin or sibling however who isn’t associated to you, anthropologists might confer with that relationship as a fictive kinship.

  • The next story takes place in a fictive college, however most of the narrative occasions are drawn from actual life.
  • The fictive nature of the movie’s narrative offers it a dreamlike high quality.
  • Together with fictive kinship within the definition of household would give youngsters within the foster system extra alternative about whom to reside with.

Fictive can also be typically used as a simple synonym for each fictional and fictitious.

  • The occasions depicted within the ebook are fully fictive.
  • The explanation he gave for being late to the get together was a fictive one.

Fictional, fictitious, and fictive FAQs

What does fictional imply?

Fictional is an adjective that refers to one thing invented by the creativeness. It’s the phrase we mostly use to explain works of fiction, resembling novels, brief tales, TV reveals, films, and performs.

What does fictitious imply?

Like fictional, fictitious refers to one thing imagined, nevertheless it’s extra typically used to confer with one thing invented within the context of actual life.

What does fictive imply?

Fictive is usually used as a synonym for fictional and fictitious. It will also be used particularly to confer with somebody with a expertise for inventiveness, and it may possibly have connotations of stylized or heightened fictionality or confer with chosen-family relationships (fictive kinships).

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