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Posted: Sat Mar 16, 2019 6:31 pm
by gwray
To my ears—I am an engineer—periodic connotes 'at fixed intervals'; timely connotes 'on time'; and regular connotes 'mundane'. But I suspect that there is significant overlap in meanings which would be instructive to tease out. What word should be put in a this sentence if one did not wish to connote a strict schedule?
Employees will receive ____ salary reviews.

Re: periodic/timely/regular

Posted: Mon Mar 18, 2019 7:42 am
by call_copse
I don't think there is a specific word. It might depend upon the circumstances - for instance 'irregular', 'at will' or something to indicate 'depending on finances'.

Do you feel this means there is a lack of a word meaning to an erratic schedule?

Re: periodic/timely/regular

Posted: Tue Mar 19, 2019 11:02 am
by gwray
I am not sure that a word is missing because I think any of the words will serve. Rather, I think that all of the words have shades of meaning that might convey more than is intended.

Other words that could be used are 'frequent' and 'occasional', but these too have shades of meaning that might convey more than is intended.

"We have ______ thunderstorms in August.

Perhaps the most neutral choice is 'from time to time' used postpositively.

Re: periodic/timely/regular

Posted: Wed Mar 20, 2019 1:57 am
by David Myer
Yes, people are very imprecise on their use of words in this area. Regular is as definite a time interval as periodic. It should not be used when 'at appropriate but as yet undetermined times' is the intention. 'Timely' is probably good enough although for some vague reason I am averse to its use. It just seems like a contrived and slightly pretentious word. It is adverbial in construction with that -ly suffix but is actually a contrived and awkward adjective whose meaning is not decipherable directly from understanding of the word time. I don't see any logic in its creation.

I must say also that 'frequently' is a horrid Latin concoction. The word 'often' is perfectly synonymous and much sweeter in my view.

I quite like from 'time to time' (or 'occasionally'), but that does suggest haphazardly rather than specifically at an appropriate time.