‘Alternate’ and ‘alternative’ mean two different things


Learn the difference between ‘alternate’ and ‘alternative’, please.
Learn the difference between ‘alternate’ and ‘alternative’, please.

FOR the past couple of weeks the Government, the Public Transport Authority and Main Roads WA have been running adverts in this newspaper advising of road closures on the Kwinana Freeway during the installation of infrastructure at Aubin Grove railway station.

I noticed that in their notices they have referred to the road that bypassing traffic must take to pass the work site as an “alternate route’ (the Russell Road off ramp).

It appears they do not know the meaning of the word, as others, such as ABC announcers, use it when they mean “alternative”.

We have had Shorten described as the “alternate” PM, when, God help us; he is the “alternative” PM.

Alternative is derived from the word alternate but has a different meaning. In fact, in this situation the map does not even show an alternative route, because there is only one choice.

You have to exit the Freeway because what is really happening is that you are using a “diversion”, which funnily enough the authorities acknowledge under their second bullet point when they say traffic is “diverted” from the Freeway to the Russell Road off/on ramps.

At least they got that bit right.

ROD STEED, Booragoon.