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"deficient" vs. "insufficient"[edit]

Is there a difference between 'deficient' and 'insufficient'? —This unsigned comment was added by (talk) at 15:26, 2 August 2007 (UTC).

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.

RuakhTALK 02:11, 3 August 2007 (UTC)