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Old 08-14-2019, 06:10 AM
Acsenray is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: U.S.A.
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Originally Posted by monstro View Post
I may be totally confused, but there are some contexts where "alternate" works better than "alternative".

"I was selected to be an alternate juror."

According to, "alternate" is used to describe an object that is serving in place of another, while "alternative" is used for choices that exist outside of mainstream. So saying "We've got alternatives to choose from" isn't communicating the same thing as "We've got alternates to choose from." If someone chose "alternate", I would assume they have selected that word for a very specific reason.

At any rate, I'm confused by what you mean by "unnecessary". The English language is rife with words that have similar though not exact meanings, that can be used interchangeable in 99% of contexts without raising anyone's ire. Personally I think that's a feature, not a bug.
I agree with GuanoLad. "I was selected to be an alternative juror." Works perfectly.

I would use "alternate" to mean "regularly changes places with." So an "alternate juror" would be "On day one it's me, on day two it's him, so we alternate. We're alternate jurors."

There is a DC Comics superhero called Crimson Fox. Originally, Crimson Fox had two secret identities—a pair of identical twins. So the sisters took turns being Crimson Fox. They switched off. They were alternates.
*I'm experimenting with E, em, and es and emself as pronouns that do not indicate any specific gender nor exclude any specific gender.

Last edited by Acsenray; 08-14-2019 at 06:12 AM.


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