Difference between inconclusive and non-conclusive (nonconclusive)

Is there any difference in usage between inconclusive and non-conclusive (nonconclusive)?

inconclusive is more popular in research compared to non-conclusive, using PubMed search, 20,872 and 260 respectively. (nonconclusive gives 117 hits).

Thesaurus doesn’t list them as synonyms.


Inconclusive – According to Merriam Webster, Inconclusive means:

  • leading to no conclusion or definite result

Neither Merriam Webster nor Oxford Advanced Learners list non-conclusive (or nonconclusive) as a word. So it’s most likely that non-conclusive isn’t a regular English word (I have never heard of it), rather it is a specialized word used in particular academic or professional disciplines.

From a quick google search I can see, most of the hits that non-conclusive got was from poorly written articles, in many cases from foreign writers. So, even if some people used it as a hyphenated compound word to express the same meaning as inconclusive, it is redundant (and a bit in poor taste.)

Non-conclusive does have some specialized usage as I mentioned. There is a Non-conclusive verb in the progressive tenses. The term was most likely first used by A.S Hornby in his articles and papers in the 1940’s and 1950’s. These are now generally known as Stative Verbs. Non-conclusive Verb [Journal link]

There is also Non-conclusive Judgment in law. Law-Dictionary

These are the only few usage that I came across. There might be more specialized used in particular fields. But if I wanted to express something that “is leading to no conclusion/definite result” I would stick to inconclusive.

Source : Link , Question Author : zx8754 , Answer Author : Rio1210

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