When you talk about substantive change, you mean change that really makes a difference. After a substantive discussion, you will have an in depth understanding of what you are talking about.

When something is substantive, there is a lot of there there, be it meaning or volume of things. The word brings a serious tone. While it is often used to talk about problems and their solutions, a big steak dinner could be called substantive as could a very long piece of writing. In any case, you use it when there is a lot of substance involved.

Definitions of substantive

adj having a firm basis in reality and being therefore important, meaningful, or considerable

basic and fundamental

adj being on topic and prompting thought

having a meaning or purpose

adj defining rights and duties as opposed to giving the rules by which rights and duties are established

substantive law”
adjective, procedural
relating to court practice and procedure as opposed to the principles of law

n any word or group of words functioning as a noun

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a content word that can be used to refer to a person, place, thing, quality, or action
collective noun
a noun that is singular in form but refers to a group of people or things
mass noun
a noun that does not form plurals
count noun
a noun that forms plurals
generic noun
a noun that does not specify either masculine or feminine gender
proper name, proper noun
a noun that denotes a particular thing; usually capitalized
common noun
a noun that denotes any or all members of a class
Type of:
a unit of language that native speakers can identify