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    • Join Date: Feb 2005
    • Posts: 296

    Red face difference between awful and awesome

    'John's 7 year old brother was involved in a car wreck two years ago. He is still suffering from PTSD. A man who heard the story said "Jesus, that must be awful || awesome." . '
    Which should I use in the above situation, awful or awesome?
    I guess 'awful' is the right answer.
    However, I'm not sure whether this is correct.
    It's sometimes difficult for me to distinguishe the two.
    Both 'awful' and 'awesome' are used for both positive and negative meanings.
    Is there any difference between 'awful' and 'awesome'?

  1. rewboss's Avatar

    • Join Date: Feb 2006
    • Posts: 1,552

    Re: difference between awful and awesome

    A few hundred years ago, "awful" and "awesome" meant nearly the same thing. Today, their meanings are very different.

    "Awesome" means "awe-inspiring" -- that is, "impressive". Anything that would make your jaw drop open in wonder and say, "Wow!" might be said to be "awesome", especially if it is very big or powerful. Big and powerful things can sometimes be a bit scary, so "awesome" can sometimes be a little bit negative.

    "Awful" means roughly the same as "terrible" or "very bad". My Italian is awful -- I can say "please" and "thank you", and even order a pizza, but that's all. An accident can be awful, and so can injuries.

    In British English, "awfully" can sometimes be used to mean "very": "That's awfully good" means the same as, "That's very good." But this is a bit old-fashioned now; people who use "awfully" in this way might be considered to be a bit "posh".

    • Join Date: Feb 2005
    • Posts: 296

    Re: difference between awful and awesome

    rewboss, thank you for your response.
    Your explanation has helped me clear my problem.
    I guess that 'awful' is the right word for my example.


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