Sunday, May 4, 2008

Addicting and Addictive

Hi there! It's been a very long and stressful week. I have some new classes which have turned out to be more challenging than I expected. Still, I'm rising to the challenge!

My reader from Canada asked me to discuss the difference between the words "addicting" and "addictive". Both are used interchangeably now. Still, there is a key difference between them.

"Addicting" and "addictive" both mean "causing addiction." The key difference lies in what part of speech the words belong in. "Addicting" is a transitive verb while "addictive" is an adjective. What's the difference?

Like any verb, a transitive verb is an action word. It's a word that talks about doing or causing something. Unlike other verbs, though, a transitive verb requires an object. In other words, something receives the action. To use "addicting," we would have to say something like: "That brand of pet food is addicting to my cats." In the sentence, my cats receive the action. It's a bit had to explain transitive verbs. It's best to think of them by asking "who did what to whom?" In this case, the pet food caused an addiction in my cats.

The adjective "addictive" simply describes a substance that causes addiction. Hence, we say, "alcohol is addictive," "chocolate is addictive," "video games are addictive." When Pinoys (and people in general) use the word "addicting," they really mean "addictive."

One last word, if you search the Net, you will find a lot of links to "addicting" products. In a way, the mistake of using "addicting" as an adjective is a result of changes in English and the way people tend to accept a mistake and take it as a fact. Where these two words are concerned, use "addictive" if you're writing or using it in a more formal situation. "Addicting," as a colloquial way of using English, I think, is all right when speaking to friends and acquaintances. Still, it helps to know the correct way of using it.

My Canadian friend, thanks for the question. It was quite a challenge answering it. To my other friend Manny, thanks for your kind message. Really, sometimes I wonder whether people learn anything from me. Oh well, no point in getting paranoid!

Keep the questions coming! I love them!

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