difference between inexperienced and unexperienced?

Discussion in 'English Only' started by openmind, Jan 19, 2005.

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  1. openmind Junior Member

    Leipzig
    Germany, German
    Hi everybody, what is the difference between inexperienced and unexperienced if there is any? Thanks in advance and I'm sure you'll keep your mind open ;- ) OM
     
  2. elroy

    elroy Motley mod

    Chicago, IL
    American English, Palestinian Arabic
    There is no difference between the two words when applied to people. Both mean "lacking in experience."

    However, "unexperienced" can also be used to refer to things, to mean "untried." You cannot use "inexperienced" in that case.

    Hope this helps. :)
     
  3. openmind Junior Member

    Leipzig
    Germany, German
    Hi Elroy,

    Yes your explanation makes perfect sense to me. Thank you very much. OM
     
  4. sallyjoe Junior Member

    UK English
    Sorry Elroy, but 'Inexperience' means that you haven't got enough experience for example in a job or a particular area of a job. Its lack of knowledge. We do not use the word 'unexperience' and looking in the Oxford Dictionary, it is not there.

    Hope this helps.
     
  5. elroy

    elroy Motley mod

    Chicago, IL
    American English, Palestinian Arabic
    I am fully aware of what "inexperience" means, and of the fact that "unexperience" is not a word. The words in question were "inexperienced" and "unexperienced." The latter is indeed a word, as evidenced by this entry from Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary. I'm sure the Oxford concurs.

    Hope everything is clear now.
     
  6. Artrella Banned

    BA
    ARGENTINA Sp/Eng


    I think the word "unexperienced" does not exist, but "inexperienced" which means "lack of experience" :p


    Cambridge, Oxford, American Heritage, Collins Cobuild, >>> no unexperienced but inexperienced

    Main Entry:inexperience
    Pronunciation:*i-nik-*spir-*-*n(t)s
    Function:noun
    Etymology:Middle French, from Late Latin inexperientia, from Latin in- + experientia experience
    Date:1598

    1 : lack of practical experience
    2 : lack of knowledge of the ways of the world
    –inexperienced \-*n(t)st\ adjective
    Merriam Webster
     
  7. elroy

    elroy Motley mod

    Chicago, IL
    American English, Palestinian Arabic
    LOL...the word "unexperienced" does exist!!! Please go to the link I provided.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 7, 2011
  8. Artrella Banned

    BA
    ARGENTINA Sp/Eng


    :eek: Elroy!! I'm not short-sighted :eek: Look, I believe what you said, and I checked that link. The fact is that your link is the only place where I've seen the word "unexperienced". At school I was taught "inexperienced" and all the dictionaries I have say "inexperienced". So all right, I won't say that does not exist, but maybe "inexperienced" is more used than the other.

    I don't know, we have to trust dictionaries... or... well sometimes, who knows?? :p
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 7, 2011
  9. fetchezlavache

    fetchezlavache Senior Member

    metz, france
    france
  10. Artrella Banned

    BA
    ARGENTINA Sp/Eng


    Thx Fetchezlavache!!! I really didn't know this, at school they taught us that "unexperienced" is wrong!!! Thank you again for showing me that this word exists. :p :thumbsup: :p

    :arrow: Natives, what do you say about "unexperienced"
     
  11. kens

    kens Senior Member

    Canada - English
    I've never heard the word "unexperienced" before, but then again I'm always surprised by the number of things I don't know! :)
     
  12. kenny74 Junior Member

    Glasgow
    Scotland-English
    I agree with kens; I've never heard of the word "unexperienced" but then again that might just be ignorance on my part.
     
  13. jacinta Senior Member

    California
    USA English
    It seems this word is one that would take some getting used to for us English speakers. I do understand the meaning, though, and correct me if I am wrong, but I believe the prefix "un" can be put to just about any word to make a negative. Unexperienced would be something that has not been experienced. An unusual word, I agree.

    This is what my American Heritage dictionary says about un:

    un- 1. Indicates not or contrary to; for example, unhappy. Note: Many compounds other than those entered here may be formed with un-.
     
  14. jacinta Senior Member

    California
    USA English

    My dictionary also goes on to explain the difference between the prefix in and un. Anyone can look it up if you feel the need. I'm not going to copy it here :eek: .
     
  15. Nick

    Nick Senior Member

    Western USA
    USA, English
    Unexperienced is definitely a word.

    Maybe it is only used in American English.
     
  16. Edwin

    Edwin Senior Member

    Tampa, Florida, USA
    USA / Native Language: English
    I doubt that it is used only in America. I agree 100% with elroy and I don't think any English speaker would have much trouble with the word unexperienced in a suitable context.

    I suspected that this word is like lots of words. When seen alone, out of context, it seems a little strange, but if you heard someone say something like, ''for me that certainly was a hitherto unexperienced emotion'', you wouldn't think it odd at all on either side of the pond.

    Googling the word is rather revealing. First, it looks to me as if 99% of the uses of unexperienced that Google finds are really incorrect. That is, the writer should have written inexperienced. On the other hand, Google does reveal some interesting legitimate uses of the word. In particularly, it appears often in the psychiatric literature in sentences such as the following from an article in the American Journal of Psychotherapy.

    Catastrophic knowledge of severe trauma is unexperienced experience that paradoxically stands for an indescribable core of an event that undermines self-in-relation and the concomitant capacities for language, narrative, and knowledge.

    But Googling also will lead you to people who think that there is no such thing as an ''unexperienced experience.'' :) Off hand I feel inclined to side with them.
     
  17. lsp

    lsp Senior Member

    NY
    US, English
    I agree, but only if I may add that they are not interchangeable. Unexperienced is, I believe, born of common present day usage in the small context (untried) you described. You say one cannot use "inexperienced" in that case. Then let's also say you could not use unexperienced for lack of knowledge or practice, as in the case of a job.

    Do you agree?
     
  18. Artrella Banned

    BA
    ARGENTINA Sp/Eng

    Yes, Jacinta, but this same dictionary has "inexperienced" and not "unexperienced" :)
     
  19. Artrella Banned

    BA
    ARGENTINA Sp/Eng
    The NEW OXFORD Dictionary
    OF ENGLISH


    in-1
    prefix
    :arrow: *(added to adjectives) not: infertile | inapt.

    :arrow: *(added to nouns)without; a lack of: inappreciation.

    ORIGIN from Latin.
    USAGE: In- is also found assimilated in the following forms: il- before l; im- before b, m, p; ir- before r.


    un-1
    prefix
    :arrow: *(added to adjectives, participles, and their derivatives) denoting the absence of a quality or state; not: unabashed | unacademic | unrepeatable.

    :arrow: the reverse of (usually with an implication of approval or disapproval, or with another special connotation): unselfish | unprepossessing | unworldly.

    :arrow: (added to nouns) a lack of: unrest | untruth.

    ORIGIN Old English, of Germanic origin; from an Indo-European root shared by Latin in- and Greek a-.
    USAGE: The prefixes un- and non- both mean ‘not’, but there is often a distinction in terms of emphasis. un- tends to be stronger and less neutral than non-: consider the differences between unacademic and non-academic, for example (his language was refreshingly unacademic; a non-academic life suits him).


    So it seems that it could be both, since "un" and "in" denote "lack of".
    Now, why is it Unimportant and not inimportant or why uncomfortable and not incomfortable or why inexperienced and "not(?)" unexperienced??? Who knows this? :confused: :) :confused:
     
  20. lsp

    lsp Senior Member

    NY
    US, English
    You can add a prefix like un or in to a word to be understood, but sometimes you are also inventing a word. Can I say I am inworried about doing that, or must I say unworried? uncaring, incaring... it's not a good enough argument to say the prefix means x, the word means y and therefore it's correct.
     
  21. sergio11 Senior Member

    Los Angeles and Buenos Aires
    Spanish (lunfardo)
    I happen to find "unexperienced" in both the Oxford and the Webster's dictionaries, so that we have to agree with Elroy. Whether you can find a word in a dictionary or not often depends on the size of your dictionary. If it is a smaller one, you cannot be sure the word does not exist. You have to check an unabridged edition.
     
  22. Artrella Banned

    BA
    ARGENTINA Sp/Eng

    Hi Sergio!! :) I have biggg unabridged dictionaries and I couldn't find it.

    Not even in the American Heritage (8652 pages!!!). Now, the dictionaries where I found this word (in my case) happen to be those "on-line" dictionaries mentioned by our fellow foreños.

    :confused:
     
  23. dave

    dave Senior Member

    London
    UK - English
    Crickey, what a long thread! Who said that linguists are the biggest pedants of them all?!

    While I have never used the word unexperienced, it certainly does exist and has done since at least 1569. The entry in the OED (Oxford English Dictionary) has as follows:

    UNEXPERIENCED

    1. Not furnished with, or taught by, experience; not skilled or trained in this way.

    1569 T. UNDERDOWN Ovid's Invect. Ibis Pref. Avjb, If you wil bear with mine vnexperienced iudgemente. 1608 WILLET Hexapla Exod. 273 No man will commit his..bodie to an vnexperienced physitian. 1678 OTWAY Friendship in F. IV. i, Her natural and unexperienc'd tenderness exceeded practis'd charms. 1751 JOHNSON Rambler No. 175 10 Credulity is the common failing of unexperienced virtue. 1793 HOLCROFT tr. Lavater's Physiog. i. 16 Shades scarcely discernible to an unexperienced eye. 1822 CHISHOLM in Good Study Med. (1829) II. 213 Let the young and unexperienced practitioner guard himself against it. 1860 A. L. WINDSOR Ethica iii. 146 An unexperienced hand might have expected [etc.].

    b. Const. in.

    1599 HAKLUYT Voy. II. II. 138 Our English Surgeons (for the most part) be vnexperienced in hurts that come by shot. 1620 E. BLOUNT Horæ Subs. 85 To be vnexperienced in the first, argues much disability for the latter. 1654 tr. Martini's Conq. China 211 He quickly dispersed them, being wholy unexperienced in Military Discipline. 1760-72 H. BROOKE Fool of Qual. (1809) IV. 27 My..child here, is unexperienced in the world. 1771 SMOLLETT Humph. Cl. Oct. ii, Unexperienced as I am in the commerce of life.

    c. absol. (with the).

    1622 PEACHAM Compl. Gent. xvi. 200 If it be the common Law of Nature, that the learned should..instruct the ignorant, the experienced, the vnexperienced. 1665 BOYLE Occas. Refl. IV. xix. 125 Whatever the unexperienc'd may imagine. 1742 Johnson's Debates (1787) II. 100 By these arts I have known the young and unexperienced kept in suspence. 1810 CRABBE Borough xxiii. 87 The unexperienced and the inexpert.

    2. Not known or felt by experience.

    1698 NORRIS Pract. Disc. IV. 89 A new and altogether unexperienc'd State and way of Life. 1721 PERRY Daggenh. Breach 69 My Work was in a Method entirely new, and unexperienc'd by those Persons appointed to carry on the same in my Absence. 1756 Monitor No. 27. I. 239 The towers..gave me an unexperienced delight, as I had never seen such a place before. 1844 DISRAELI Coningsby IX. v, There was..no unexperienced scene or sensation of life to distract his intelligence.

    Hence unexperiencedness.

    1654 GAYTON Pleas. Notes I. viii. 30 Whereat he vapoured extreamely, shaking his head at the fellows unexperiencednesse. 1727 BAILEY (vol. II) s.v., Unskilfulness.
     
  24. dave

    dave Senior Member

    London
    UK - English
    By the way, the OED entry for inexperienced reads as follows:

    INEXPERIENCED

    Not experienced; without experience; having no (or little) experience; lacking the knowledge or skill derived from experience. Const. in.

    1626 GOUGE Serm. Dign. Chivalry §18 Such as for want of former exercising were altogether inexperienced. 1776-96 WITHERING Brit. Plants (ed. 3) I. 116 The inexperienced botanist is not likely to encounter them at the commencement of his progress. 1856 KANE Arct. Expl. I. xvi. 193 We were not inexperienced in sledging over the ice.

    Hence inexperiencedness Obs. rare, the state or quality of being inexperienced.

    1725 BAILEY Erasm. Colloq. (1877) 318 (D.) The damsel has three things to plead in her excuse: the authority of her parents, the persuasion of her friends, and the inexperiencedness of her age.
     
  25. Artrella Banned

    BA
    ARGENTINA Sp/Eng
    Hi Dave!! Thank you for that loong explanation!! Now we can assure that "unexperienced" does exist!!!! It is in OXFORD!!! :p :thumbsup:
     
  26. sallyjoe Junior Member

    UK English
    What was the original question????? I didn't write the very first question but thanks for all the replies its been interesting reading them. I now need to find an 'unabridge' dictionary!!
     
  27. kens

    kens Senior Member

    Canada - English
    Or is it an 'inabridged' dictionary you need? In the immortal words of Ralph Wiggum, "Me fail English? That's unpossible!" :D
     
  28. lsp

    lsp Senior Member

    NY
    US, English
    I very reluctantly have another post to add to this thread, but after getting this far I can't leave it here feeling we didn't make that much progress. So here goes:

    Does the confirmation that they are both in some dictionary somewhere mean anything? Does the fact that one is in every dictionary and the other had eluded us for nearly two dozen posts (previously unfound or infound, I wonder...)? Does the newly unearthed dictionary entry answer the question about the similarity or difference in the meaning of the two words?
     
  29. sergio11 Senior Member

    Los Angeles and Buenos Aires
    Spanish (lunfardo)
    Well, Artrella, my Webster's is a very old one, the "Webster's New International Dictionary" (2620 pages) from 1927, which I bought for 5 dollars at a library sale, and my Oxford is the "Oxford Universal Dictionary" from 1955 (2515 pages), which I bought for 3 dollars at the same library sale. My Oxford is not unabridged: it is clearly presented as an abridgement in the Preface. So if you were too picky, you could argue that these are obsolete dictionaries with obsolete words. When I need to check words that are not in any of these dictionaries, I go to the public library and check them in the latest Oxford English Dictionary. And you are right in that it is not found in the American Heritage Dictionary, which is the first one I usually check, because I find it easier to use and the typeface is more pleasant to my eye.
     
  30. elroy

    elroy Motley mod

    Chicago, IL
    American English, Palestinian Arabic
    Yes, it sounds weird to me too...but it is a word. It was the same with "belatedly" and "frenziedly" - I would never use those in everyday speech, and at first I thought they weren't words. But indeed, they are! :D
     
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