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"deficient" vs. "insufficient"
- I think so, yes, but I'm having difficulty putting my finger on it. There seem to be two differences, actually, though they're related:
- "Insufficient" tends to be more precise, with a specific purpose being either stated or implied. For example, I might say "His grades were deficient", meaning "He had bad grades", but "His grades were insufficient for ___", meaning "He had grades that were too bad for ___".
- I think "deficient" tends to be more negative, but I'm having difficulty articulating just how.
Insufficient would be considered not quite up to a certain standard, or subpar. Deficient would be lacking something that is necessary.