Wendy wonders: “Addicting:” Maybe you can help me here – is that a correct American English word? It’s certainly not British English!
My eyes widened in fear when I read this comment. Oh, crap. I know I have used the word “addicting” before. Is it not a word? Have I been guilty of an error akin to using the word “irregardless” in a non-ironic fashion? The horror!
I hopped onto my search engine as fast as my little fingers could take me and started searching. It turns out, that the “addicting vs. addictive” argument is another of those lovely English conundrums for which there is no clear answer.
Some dictionaries list “addicting” as a word; others do not. The lines are clearly drawn at the Atlantic, however. Brits are emphatic that “addicting” is not a real word.
This article by The Grammar Girl sums the issue up nicely. Basically, if you are unsure which word to use, the safer bet is to use “addictive.”
For example, if you want to tell your readers that they should be careful not to start shopping at the dollar store because they may not be able to stop once they start, you could say:
“Shopping at the dollar store is addicting.”
“Shopping at the dollar store is addictive.”
Either is acceptable, but you are less likely to annoy the sticklers if you choose the second option.
One caveat, using the word “addictive” can be an emotionally loaded word, since people associate it more closely with substance abuse additions. For some reason, the word “addicting” doesn’t conjure up those same negative connotations.
Do you have any blog writing questions?