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.
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Megan @ Polish The Stars.com says
Thank you! I’ve always thought it was addictive but it seems like everyone I know says addicting. It’s nice to know that my version is slightly more correct. 🙂
Hey! Thanks for clearing that up for me. I will try very hard not to be annoyed with people who say addicting from now on!
Huh. I have never even heard of this debate! Guess I’m fulling in the addicting camp!
Lol, when I was in high school the word "got" wasn't in the Australian or English dictionaries (30yrs ago) and I had an English teacher who wrote 'What?' above each 'got' and wouldn't mark your essays until this word was eliminated from them! I think I'll use the 'old' words like addictive as I understand what they mean and how to use them.