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  1. #1
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    confusing/confused?

    Why can't we use confusing when we are trying to relay that we are confused? What is the grammatical answer to this? We can say that we are learning, hiding, and so forth so why not confusing?

  2. #2
    philadelphia's Avatar
    philadelphia is offline Senior Member
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    Re: confusing/confused?

    I have come across this:

    --
    'Adjectives that are really participles, verb forms with -ing and -ed endings, can be troublesome for some students. It is one thing to be a frightened child; it is an altogether different matter to be a frightening child.

    Do you want to go up to your professor after class and say that you are confused or that you are confusing? Generally, the
    => -ed ending means that the noun so described ("you") has a passive relationship with something — something (the subject matter, the presentation) has bewildered you and you are confused.
    => -ing ending means that the noun described has a more active role — you are not making any sense so you are confusing (to others, including your professor).'
    --

    Not a teacher at all.

  3. #3
    bertietheblue is offline Senior Member
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    Re: confusing/confused?

    Quote Originally Posted by Naib View Post
    Why can't we use confusing when we are trying to relay that we are confused? What is the grammatical answer to this? We can say that we are learning, hiding, and so forth so why not confusing?
    It confuses me
    It interests me
    It entertains me
    It disgusts me
    It excites me

    It = subject = -ing form (it is confusing/interesting/entertaining/disgusting/exciting)
    Me = object = -ed form (I am confused/interested/entertained/disgusted/excited)

    The above -ing and -ed forms are adjectives (of state?) (whereas 'learning' in 'I am learning' is the -ing form of the verb 'learn' used in the present continuous and not an adjective). Such adjectives can be derived from a number of verbs - what kind of verbs exactly, I couldn't say with confidence but, from the above, it looks like certain verbs that denote having a mental, emotional or physical effect on someone. However, that's just a sample of five off the top of my head so it's difficult for me to draw any firm conclusions.

    Oh, 'kill' has a physical effect, for sure but you can't say 'it was killing', can you! OK, maybe 'verbs that denote having an enduring mental, emotional or physical effect and not verbs of action'? ... Hmm, I'm struggling. Help, anyone?

  4. #4
    2006 is offline Banned
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    Re: confusing/confused?

    Quote Originally Posted by Naib View Post
    Why can't we use confusing when we are trying to relay that we are confused? Because the two adjectives have different meanings.
    This is a bit hard to explain, so bear with me and hopefully it will become clear eventually.

    confused, adj (past participle) I am confused. (= I am bewildered/unclear about something.)
    confusing, adj (present participle) The directions are confusing. (1. They are hard to understand. 2. They made me confused.)

    What is the grammatical answer to this?
    "confused" is a result. A person, animal, report, explanation, statement, etc can be confused. The animals and things in the above sentence are confused/unclear.
    "confusing", as an adjective, is also a result, but it can also have an effect, which is to make someone confused.

    A confusing report or directions can make you confused.
    A confused person can make you confused if they give you a confusing explanation of something.

    We can say that we are learning, hiding, and so forth so why not confusing? Again, you can say "confusing", but it doesn't mean "confused"!

    Similar adjective pairs are bored/boring, interested/interesting, tired/tiring. (along with the ones bertiethe blue gave)

    Now ask questions as needed.
    2006

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