Doctrine (n), Doctrinal (adj), Doctrinaire (adj)

Here, in as short an order as possible are three context clues worksheets on the noun doctrine, the adjective doctrinal, and the adjective doctrinaire. Why three? Honestly, I don’t remember. I can say with confidence that I wrote these in response to the regular use, particularly in social studies texts, of the noun doctrine. As you probably know, it’s difficult to talk about the Roman Catholic Church, for example, and its role in European politics and statecraft, without encountering one or all three of these words. In any case, doctrine means, variously: “something that is taught  b : a principle or position or the body of principles in a branch of knowledge or system of belief : DOGMA  c : a principle of law established through past decisions  d : a statement of fundamental government policy esp. in international relations  e : a military principle or set of strategies”

You probably already know that in order to teach or otherwise inculcate doctrine, you indoctrinate someone.

It’s also worth mentioning that while I have written the worksheet on doctrinaire for its use as an adjective, the word also can be used as a noun, in which case it means “one who attempts to put into effect an abstract doctrine or theory with little or no regard for practical difficulties.” I don’t know if I’ve ever seen it used that way, but if the lexicographers at Merriam-Webster say it is, then I believe them. As far as doctrinal goes, as an adjective, it means “of, relating to, or preoccupied with doctrine.”

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

2 responses to “Doctrine (n), Doctrinal (adj), Doctrinaire (adj)

  1. Adelaide Dupont

    “Love the doctrine; hate the doctrinaire”

    is how I remember.

    Liked by 1 person

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