Grammar 101 with Michael Kwan

When you have words that look very similar and come from essentially the same root, it can be a struggle to determine what word is appropriate under what context. Today, we take a look at the differences between technique, technical and technic.

Technique (pronounced “teck-neek”) has two main definitions. First, it can refer to a particular way of executing a particular task. For example, there are certain techniques that you would use when baking muffins. You may learn several techniques for playing golf, including how to drive, how to read the green and how to putt.

Second, technique can refer to a higher level of skill in a particular area. For instance, you could say that a chef “has excellent technique” when you see him preparing a meal. Technique is a noun.

Technical (pronounced “teck-nick-ul”) is entirely different. It refers to a particular subject or its techniques. You could say that most explanations of the Higgs boson particle are quite technical. In this way, something that is “technical,” usually means that it requires specialized knowledge to be properly understood.

This is also why certain schools are called technical colleges, because the students are learning specialized knowledge and learning about specific techniques within a particular industry or trade. Technical is an adjective.

Technic (pronounced “teck-nick”) isn’t a word that is used very often. I mostly think of it as a line of LEGO products, but technic can also refer to technique, technical terms, or technology. Depending on the context, technic could be a noun or an adjective.

Technics (with an “s”), on the other hand, has a specific meaning. It is the study of the mechanical or industrial arts, though it could also be used to refer to the science of other arts too. In this context, technics is a noun.

Just as there is a definite difference between tasty and tasteful, it’s important to recognize the differences between technique, technical and technics. Do you have another suggestion for a future Grammar 101 post? Do let me know through the comment section below, regardless of how technical the query may be.