Don’t Use ‘Addicting’ Instead Of ‘Addictive’

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Don’t Use ‘Addicting’ Instead Of ‘Addictive’


Let’s keep this real easy, folks. If you want to describe something so compelling that it has drug-like qualities, the adjective you seek is ‘addictive’. Not ‘addicting’. That is, simply, wrong.

Addiction picture from Shutterstock

This is a horribly common error. It pops up all the time; even our sibling title Business Insider Australia has been guilty recently. That doesn’t make it right.

To be clear: the word ‘addicting’ exists, but it’s the present participle of the transitive verb ‘addict’, not an adjective derived from the noun ‘addict’.

Here’s an easy way to remember, Just as your phone has ‘predictive’ input, not ‘predicting’ input, it has ‘addictive’ games, not ‘addicting’ ones.

Language changes. Given the increasing frequency with which ‘addicting’ is being used as an adjective right now, it is conceivable that in 30 years this usage will have been standardised. But at this moment it is wrong, and it is a construction to be avoided if you want your writing to seem professional. Accuracy matters.

Lifehacker’s Mind Your Language column offers bossy advice on improving your writing.

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