The English language has evolved over the centuries. It incorporates new words, and phases old words out of common use. Variants that had previously been considered inferior rise to prominence, and come to be accepted. Language shift can be a beautiful thing. English is constantly changing, which can make it difficult for writers who are just starting to hone their craft, and new speakers of English, to find their footing. Empathetic and empathic, two words for the same concept, are an excellent example of this evolution. Neither was widely used until the 20th century, at which point empathic quickly became the preferred term. In recent years, empathetic has gained some standing, and may someday overtake empathic in the race for acceptance. For now, though, empathic remains the accepted term. Continue reading to discover why.
Empathic as adjective:
She is an attentive, empathic listener.
Use of empathic:
Use of empathetic:
Now, in a case like that, and in yours, one can’t help but feel empathetic, even a little impressed. [Globe and Mail]
Empathic or empathetic:
Empathic and empathetic are adjectives, and are two words for the concept of being able to adopt another person’s perspective and emotions. Empathic has been, and still is, the accepted variant. You can remember to avoid empathetic since it contains the word pathetic, and you should try not to be pathetic in your writing. Here is a helpful trick to remember empathetic vs. empathic. For now, you should always choose empathic. Empathetic is less common, and while there may come a day when it becomes the preferred variant, this switch hasn’t happened yet. Empathic is the correct word to use in all contexts today. Remembering to choose empathic is easy, since empathetic contains the word pathetic, and you should try not to be pathetic. This is a very blunt mnemonic. It may come across as overly harsh, but it’s also more memorable as a result.