Compelling versus appealing


Senior Member
Hello there,

I am having some difficulty to tell these two words apart: "compelling" and "appealing"

For instance, if you say:

"Marthin Luther King's yesterday's speech was really appealing?."

Would it be that correct?.

Or maybe: "He always puts forward such appealing ideas, no wonder he is the manager now!."

I am confused. Thanks in advance! :)
  • PaulQ

    Senior Member
    English - England
    "Martin Luther King's yesterday's speech was really appealing?." Would it be that correct?.
    Grammatically, yes, but people would laugh and think you were an air-head... :D Martin Luther King was one of the great orators of the 20th century, and saying his speech was "appealing" would be like saying terrorists are "a little naughty."

    Compelling - given with force and persuasion.

    Appealing - quite nice; pleasant; attractive.


    Senior Member
    Thanks PaulQ,

    I really missed the point about " terrorist are a little naughty" regarding Martin Luther king's speeches. :(

    Thanks a lot! :)


    Senior Member
    English - US
    Leaving a day early for a vacation is an appealing idea. (Some would say this idea "holds a certain appeal.")
    Having to meet with my least favorite client later today is not an appealing thought. (Meeting with him "holds little appeal.")
    The salad looks appealing. (It appears appetizing.)

    Susan's reasons for needing a day off were compelling: her mother fell and broke her hip, her child picked up a virus and was vomiting all night, and her husband is out of town this whole month. The poor woman was 'at the end of her rope' (was at her wits' end).

    Speeches are often referred to as "inspiring."
    "Compelling" is closer than "appealing" but it may not be the adjective you want. Does the speech move you (compel you) to do something, to take some action?

    He always puts forth/suggests/has such terrific (fabulous/fantastic/wonderful/progressive [though 'progressive' has a different meaning]) ideas. No wonder....