Difference: ‘interesting’ and ‘interested’

(How to use ‘interested’ and ‘interesting’)

Table of contents – difference ‘interesting’ and ‘interested’

On this page you will find the following:

  1. Difference ‘interesting’ and ‘interested’
  2. Other adjectives ending in ‘-ing’ and ‘-ed’
  3. Further explanations and exercises

What is the difference between ‘interesting’ and ‘interested’?

The English words interesting and interested are both adjectives. Due to their similarity, English language learners may easily confuse them in a sentence. However, they have different meanings, which must be considered to avoid misunderstandings. Compare these differences in example sentences:

  • The adjective ‘interesting’ describes how you or someone else perceives another person or thing, that is, how that person or thing is in the eye of the beholder:
    • “The film we saw yesterday was very interesting.”
      • This sentence shows the adjective referring to a thing, in this case, ‘film’.
    • “When we were in South America, we had an interesting trip through the jungle.”
      • Here, it is also a relation to a thing, the ‘trip’.
    • “Our new neighbour is an interesting person.”
      • In this statement, the adjective modifies a person, the ‘neighbour’.
  • In contrast, ‘interested’ is used when you want to express how you or another person feels or looks to the outside world:
    • The two ladies were interested in buying a car.”
    • Oscar is interested in the job the new company is offering.”
      • Both adjectives refer to people (‘the two ladies’ and ‘Oscar’) and indicate their interest in something.

Other adjectives ending in ‘-ing’ and ‘-ed’

Following the rules above, many other adjectives that end in ‘-ed’ and ‘-ing’ exist and express emotions or states of mind. For further details, you may also read the corresponding section in the article on the usage of adjectives. For now, compare some of them in the following examples:

  • boring’ and ‘bored’:
    • “What a boring show.”
    • “My sister often feels bored in the evening.”
  • embarrassing’ and ‘embarrassed’:
    • “Your friend’s comment was embarrassing.”
    • “Paula was embarrassed when you asked her about her age.”
  • exciting’ and ‘excited’:
    • “My parents had an exciting experience in China.”
    • “My favourite band is coming to town. I’m so excited.”
  • annoying’ and ‘annoyed’:
    • “My new colleague is very annoying.”
    • “I think Melissa is really annoyed. She isn’t saying anything.”
  • disappointing’ and ‘disappointed’:
    • “The conversation with my boss was very disappointing.”
    • “I’m a bit disappointed that you didn’t invite me.”
  • Also, consider some additional adjectives that function according to the same principle. They are used quite often:
    • confused/confusing
    • tired/tiring
    • amazed/amazing
    • exhausted/exhausting
    • shocked/shocking
    • terrified/terrifying

Further explanations related to the ‘Difference of ‘interesting’ and ‘interested’

The following explanations relate to the topic ‘Usage and differentiation of ‘interested’ and ‘interesting’ in English’ and could be helpful too: