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I am well aware right from my school days that the correct form is "Please make alternative arrangements for alternate months" - meaning that have a back up plan just in case.

Recently I stumbled on my cambridge dictionary edited way back in 2003 that said the below,

alternative /Ql"t3:[email protected]/ /A:l"t3`:[email protected]ºIv/ adjective 1 (US ALSO alternate) An alternative plan or method is one that you can use if you do not want to use another one: The opposition parties have so far failed to set out an alternative strategy. An alternative venue for the concert is being sought.
http://www.answers.com/topic/alternative clearly mentions the use of the word alternative and the common usage error too.
While I understand this, since I am not a native speaker and I dont live in the United States, I am interested to know if the usage "Please make alternate plans" is acceptable? (gramatically?/ slang?) Though it should have been "Please make alternative plans".
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As the dictionary suggests, so many AmE speakers confuse the two words that it must be accepted at least informally. No fun for us teachers, who rely on those kinds of prescriptive points to absorb class time.
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Mister MicawberAs the dictionary suggests, so many AmE speakers confuse the two words that it must be accepted at least informally.
Good one! Emotion: crying Emotion: clap

Alternate is to repeatedly to something one after the other. You go first, I go second and then keep going that way. 1,2,1,2,1,2 etc. "You two alternate and take turns on the swing." Alternative does not mean to repeatedly or consistently take turns. Alternative means other options or possibilities. "You need to find alternative solutions so that you don't miss class." So, alternate is to go back and forth, one after the other. Alternative is to have more than one options or a different option or simply something "different".