demotivated, unmotivated, not motivated, discouraged

Discussion in 'English Only' started by emilita, Nov 30, 2006.

  1. emilita Senior Member

    Good evening!
    Could any native speaker tell me if you say unmotivated or demotivated (or maybe both, interchangeably?) when you refer to your employees? The thing is that none of my dictionaries include the word ´unmotivated´but I have seen it on the Internet and it rings a bell so much that I am not sure anymore! I find it really puzzling :) thanks in advance for your help!!
  2. clairanne Senior Member

    East Sussex
    english UK

    I would say " she was demotivated" or more likely "she lacked motivation"
  3. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
  4. languageGuy Senior Member

    Kansas City, MO
    USA and English
    The words are very similar but have subtle differences (to me at least).

    Demotivated - is not motivated now, but was motivated in the past. Motivation decreased.

    Unmotivated - is not motivated now, but unclear if motivated in the past. No motivation.
  5. Mike

    Mike Senior Member

    Krakow, Polska
    Australia, English
    The difference is usage one of cause.

    Here are the dictionary listings:


    This is a verb. You could use its past participle as an adjective: his boss's lack of belief in him has caused him to be really demotivated.


    Which is simply an adjective. My mate is one of the most unmotivated students in my class. (Nothing has caused that; he just is.)

    The first means something directly caused a lack in motivation, the second simply states the lack of motivation.
  6. stranger in your midst

    stranger in your midst Senior Member

    English / Scotland
    I agree.

    Demotivated = had motivation but lost it.

    Unmotivated = never had it in the first place.
  7. emilita Senior Member

    Thank you sooo much!Now that you have explained it to me,it seems to me I should have figured it out myself :) Thanx guys!
  8. Xavier da Silva Senior Member

    Portuguese - Brazil
    Hello everyone,

    I'd like to know which of these three words is the most natural/idiomatic or commonly used in the contexts below. Please take a look.

    1. unmotivated
    2. demotivated
    3. discouraged


    I'm too unmotivated to work there.
    Your students are clearly unmotivated.

    I'm too demotivated to work there.
    Your students are clearly demotivated.

    I'm too discouraged to work there.
    Your students are clearly discouraged.

    Definition: not having interest in or enthusiasm for something, especially work or study.

    Thank you very much in advance!
  9. owlman5

    owlman5 Senior Member

    "Demotivated" sounds strange to me, Xavier. The others sound fine. I sure couldn't find any support for "demotivated" in M-W's unabridged version. As that dictionary accepts just about any odd word, I'd be surprised if many speakers are using "demotivated" instead of "unmotivated".
  10. panjandrum

    panjandrum Occasional Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Demotivated sounds fine to me <puzzled>.
    It is just a bit like unmotivated, except that it reflects a change from a previous state of being motivated.
    I'm surprised it doesn't appear in M-W.
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2011
  11. owlman5

    owlman5 Senior Member

  12. Pedro y La Torre Senior Member

    Hauts-de-Seine, France
    English (Ireland)
    Demotivated is a perfectly fine word, and one I use on many an occasion.
  13. Samurott New Member

    All the above suggestions are correct.
    In my personal opinion, "He/She had no motivation." seems the most natural. Plus this way, you can avoid the unmotivated/demotivated debate all together!

    - Samurott
  14. Squiggle

    Squiggle Senior Member

    Savoie, France
    English - UK

Share This Page