I am curious about the distinction between the term "reduce" and "suspend" in the context of government action, specifically as to whether or not the term reduce would require permanence. For example: If the government were to "reduce" its arms sales to a certain country, would that mean that reduction is permanent or would the government restart sales later on? Would it be appropriate to say that a reduction of government arms sales could be temporary?

1 Answer 1



The difference between "reduce" and "suspend" is linguistic, not legal. "Reduce" means to continue but at a lesser level than previously, it has no connotation of duration, for example unemployment might be reduced this month but could go either way next month. "Suspend" means to stop completely but with an implication that such stopping will be reversed in the future - possibly if specified conditions are met.


Governments can always change their policies subject to any legal restriction.

Assuming there is no legal impediment on "arms sales to a certain country", a government, can reduce, suspend, stop, restart, increase, suspend again and so on indefinitely.

  • In the linguistic sense, would a reduction preclude a suspension i.e. if something is reduced, it is permanent?
    – Jordan Di
    Jun 17, 2019 at 16:55
  • 1
    @JordanDi No, there is no such implication in the use of the word "reduce". Something can be reduced for 2 minutes, 2 days, or 2 years, and then suspended, halted permanently, or increased to a level higher than it was before the reduction. Or the reduction can turn out to be permanent. Temperatures were reduced during the last Ice Age, but not forever. Jun 17, 2019 at 21:14

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