Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Accident and Incident

Difference Between Accident and Incident

Car Crash Accident

Accident vs. Incident: Don’t Mistake One for the Other

When one watches the news on television or reads the newspapers, one inevitably comes across the words ‘accident’ and ‘incident’. Because they sound alike, these two words are thought to be interchangeable by some people – they both end with a ‘-dent’. Furthermore, accident and incident are both used to describe a past, present, or future event. However, they cannot be used interchangeably – each should be used in certain conditions.

One should understand that ‘incident’ can pertain to any event, whether positive or negative; a funeral, wedding, forest fire, and classroom session could all be termed as incidents. Regardless of circumstance, an event can always be termed as an incident. People usually attach adjectives before the word incident. It’s common to hear phrases such as ‘what an unfortunate incident’ or ‘it was a good incident’ when people describe events.

On the other hand, the term ‘accident’ cannot be used when describing events in general. ‘Accident’ has a negative implication and points to an unintended or chance event. It can also pertain to events that involve injury, misfortune, and in some cases even death. To say that a person accidentally dropped a pen, for example, means that the person unintentionally dropped the pen. The person may have dropped it because their fingers were sweaty, or because they fell asleep, or because the pen was too slippery. In any case, the dropping of the pen was not an intended event; therefore it can be termed as an accident.

Events such as a train slipping off the rails or an airplane crash-diving into the sea can all be termed as accidents. In this case, however, the implication is heavy, because these accidents might involve injury or death. Whether the cause of the event is human error or faulty wiring or weather, the event can generally be termed as an accident.

Difference Between Accident and Incident-1

Incident Example

In the media, any sensational event is automatically termed as an incident; any newsworthy story can be tagged with the term. For example, a hostage-taking scenario that occurred in the Philippines can be referred to as ‘the Philippine incident.’ In the same manner, the awarding ceremony of an actors’ guild can be simply termed as the actors’ ‘guild incident.’ One can observe that the use of this term is very general; it can be used in conjunction with any significant event.

The trick to effectively differentiating between an accident and an incident is by determining the nature of the event. All accidents can alternately be called incidents, but not all incidents are accidents. Events that have negative repercussions and involve any chance electrical failure or human error should be referred to as accidents. However, events that are positive in nature should be called incidents.

People should know when to use these two terms in order to avoid misinformation. For example, using the term ‘accident’ to describe a positive event could cause undue worry and stress to listeners. In the same way, using the term ‘incident’ to describe a tragedy could cause listeners to be unaware of the negative implications of the event.

Summary:

  1. The terms ‘accident’ and ‘incident’ are used often by the media.
  2. ‘Accident’ and ‘incident’ are thought to be interchangeable by some people because they sound alike; both words end with a ‘-dent’.
  3. Both terms can be used to describe a past, present, or future event.
  4. Regardless of circumstance, an event can always be termed as an incident.
  5. On the other hand, the term ‘accident’ cannot be used when describing events in general. ‘Accident’ has a negative connotation and points to an unintended or chance event.
  6. All accidents can alternately be called incidents, but not all incidents are accidents.

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References :


[0]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Car_Accident.jpg

[1]https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Countryliner_DE44_MX09_HFJ_rear_incident_2.JPG

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