Is there a sharp difference between the meanings of adjectives ending up with “al” vs. adjectives ending up with “ive”? If so, what is that difference? Can they ever be used exchangeably?
intuitive vs. intuitional
creative vs. creational
Contrasting different examples, I think -ive adjective is about possessing a feature/thing, while -al adjectives are about being related to such a feature/thing. But I am not sure if this is applicable as a rule everywhere.
Also, does anyone know of any source where the answers to this kind of questions can be found?
They both come from French, and they are used with adjectives to convey different meaning:
- suffix forming nouns of action from verbs, mostly from Latin and French, meaning “act of ______ing” (such as survival, referral), Middle English -aille, from French feminine singular -aille, from Latin -alia, neuter plural of adjective suffix -alis, also used in English as a noun suffix. Nativized in English and used with Germanic verbs (as in bestowal, betrothal).
- word-forming element making adjectives from verbs, meaning “pertaining to, tending to; doing, serving to do,” in some cases from Old French -if, but usually directly from Latin adjectival suffix -ivus (source also of Italian and Spanish -ivo). In some words borrowed from French at an early date it has been reduced to -y (as in hasty, tardy).