Disrupting / Disruptive

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MickaelV

Senior Member
Hi,
Do these two words have distinctive meanings?
Intuitively I think disrupting has a more negative and/or stronger meaning than disruptive.
Any thought will be greatly appreciated.
Thanks.
 
  • Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    Well, let me go further -- we could use some context. What are we talking about here?

    (Please remember to use appropriate capitalization -- you may edit your thread.)
     

    tamiiland

    Member
    Spanish - Argentina
    'this is a disrupting effect' vs 'this is a disruptive effect'

    In my experience, 'disrupting' is used to say that a certain thing is causing a certain disruption in a certain moment, while 'disruptive' is used when something will always cause a disruption.

    Disrupting: A snowstorm is disrupting the transport systems.
    Disruptive: She has always had a disruptive attitude.

    It may vary depending on the context, but this 'rule' works fine for me most of the times.
     

    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    I am looking for a general feeling, not a context dependent interpretation.
    You seem more picky than helpful.
    Quoting from our rules, which were developed by many people over a long time and for sound reasons:

    What we do in the English Only forum
    We answer specific questions about words or phrases in a complete sentence with context and background in a respectful, helpful and cordial manner.
     

    MickaelV

    Senior Member
    Copyright: this rule obviously doesn't apply to all linguistic needs. Right now, my context is A SINGLE WORD: a front page with either the word 'disruptive' or the word 'disrupting', with a need to know what a native English speaker would feel in front of either word.
     

    tamiiland

    Member
    Spanish - Argentina
    Just for the record, I'm not a native speaker. As you can see in my info, my native tongue is Argentinian Spanish. Copyright, on the other hand, is a native, so perhaps whatever he has to say will be more valuable than my opinion.
     

    MickaelV

    Senior Member
    Tamiiland: an answer is always more valuable than no answer at all. While it is understandable that most of the time a complete sentence helps understanding a request, it narrows the question. If I gave complete phrases like "Most artery flow disrupting events occur at locations with less than 50% lumen narrowing" and "It's no secret that future disruptive demographic changes will have profound implications for the relationship between employers and employees", I still won't get any useful answer to my request because I already know exactly what these two phrase mean. I am rather interested in contexts or sentences that I do NOT know yet and that would help understanding the difference between these two terms.
     

    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    I am rather interested in contexts or sentences that I do NOT know yet and that would help understanding the difference between these two terms.

    We do not provide sentences and context -- that is your task. If you would like to see these words in sentences and various contexts, you may consider using Google News, which is more focused than Google in that it provides results from published sources, keeping in mind that some of those sources are blogs.

    In general, you will find disruptive used as an adjective much more often than disrupting, which is generally used in verb form.

    From Google News:
    disruptive
    disrupting
     

    tamiiland

    Member
    Spanish - Argentina
    I am rather interested in contexts or sentences that I do NOT know yet and that would help understanding the difference between these two terms.

    You have quite a disruptive atittude, you know? :D

    Anyway, sometimes a quick look at a dictionary can help you clarify your doubts. For instance, if you go to Cambridge Dictionaries Online, you will find the meanings of disrupt and disruptive, along with some useful examples below the words' explanations. Wordreference's Concise English Dictionary also has definition for those words (obviously). While a dictionary's description might not always be of help if you have dozens of contexts in mind, it does lend a hand.

    I'll take my leave now. Copyright is more than capable of handling your query. :)
     

    gramman

    Senior Member
    It may be that the issue is largely resolved by Copyright's observation that disruptive is the much more common adjectival form. Personally, I don't see any difference in the degree of negative connotation. I'm not sure when, if ever, disrupting would be preferable as an adjective, and I'd good-naturedly suggest that as part of your analysis. Note that in the examples offered by tamiiland, he used disrupting as a verb. That may account for the distinction drawn regarding timespan.

    >>an answer is always more valuable than no answer at all.

    Always? What if it's an incorrect response, or simply misleading? When I first joined this forum, I viewed the (pretty much strictly enforced) rules about context and sources as nothing much more than common sense. A few months of hanging around in the community has led me to decide that they are much more valuable and necessary. (In another thread, we're trying to decide if I changed my mind, or if my experience here did the changing.)

    Of course, every thread is different (or should be, if people search the archive first :rolleyes: ), and I can see the point you were making about wanting a "general," non-contextual perspective. But please be kind to the staff here; some of them are grumpy old men. And speaking as one myself, I can understand the limitations involved.

    Here's my example sentence:

    A disruption disrupted the disruptive effect of their protest.
     

    Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    Copyright is not only American; he is a moderator. If a moderator requests further information, we generally refrain from replying until the information has been provided.
     

    lucas-sp

    Senior Member
    English - Californian
    Right now, my context is A SINGLE WORD: a front page with either the word 'disruptive' or the word 'disrupting', with a need to know what a native English speaker would feel in front of either word.
    Thoughts of a native English speaker confronted with the single word "disruptive" or "disrupting" printed on a sheet of paper:

    In front of "disruptive": "Oh, look, it's the adjective 'disruptive.' Something must be disruptive."

    In front of "disrupting": "Oh, look, it's the present participle 'disrupting,' from the verb 'to disrupt.' Wait - it can't be the gerund, can it? No, because why would they use the gerund when there's the perfectly common word 'disruption'? Maybe it's not that well-written. Anyway, I guess something must be disrupting something else."

    In front of both "disruptive" and "disrupting": "Why the heck is there just one adjective - or maybe a verbal adjective? or maybe that bizarre choice of the gerund that I was wondering about? - printed on this sheet of paper? Is it supposed to be a title or something? Because I certainly can't figure out what it's supposed to be about. What is disruptive or disrupting? And really, adjectives are almost never used as titles in English for precisely this reason. I'm annoyed. Gosh, it really isn't a good title if I already don't like the author. I give up; I don't really want to figure out what's going on here."
     

    gramman

    Senior Member
    >>my context is A SINGLE WORD: a front page with either the word 'disruptive' or the word 'disrupting'

    >>adjectives are almost never used as titles in English

    To be fair to MickaelV (The Disruptive One ;) ), I don't think he meant to ask about these words as "titles," but rather simply in isolation from any context. I agree that that is an exercise that would be difficult to accomplish or benefit from.
     

    lucas-sp

    Senior Member
    English - Californian
    He did give the context of "a front page," however... which is different than saying "what if you saw each of these words scrawled all by itself on a wall?", for instance. Then my answers might have been different.

    There's no such thing as "no context." I mean that statement rigorously: the proposition that we can encounter words "in isolation from any context" is philosophically impossible and void. Hopefully MickaelV will re-phrase his question in a way that would make it answerable.
     

    gramman

    Senior Member
    >>He did give the context of "a front page"

    And I specifically cited that. I was suggesting that he may actually have meant something more along the lines of a "wall scrawl," as you described.

    >>the proposition that we can encounter words "in isolation from any context" is philosophically impossible and void

    Gee, and I only thought it would be difficult and perhaps without benefit. Guess that settles that! ;) Wait, what about isolated words that are, say, scrawled on a wall? :)

    And words are sometimes written in isolation:

    by marketers
    A single word, "Discount," written on the signboard outside the store can do the trick. The customer would be inquisitive enough to find out what the store offers. — Signage - Meaning and its Role in Retail Industry
    and artists
    Beuys appears to offer an answer in a single word: silence. Written on a poster in the 1964 action, the word "silence" functions as the poster child for a language that does not do what we try to use it to do.
    Visual Culture in Twentieth-Century Germany: Text as Spectacle, by Gail Finney, 2006.
    Single words are sometimes found in detective novels, analyzed as clues. I vaguely recall that underground political activists will write perhaps a single word on a wall to inspire opposition to an occupying force — allows for a quick getaway. (I've determined to have these memories fade in an effort to stay out of trouble.) The only one I recall is in fact a single letter: Z, meaning "He [Grigoris Lambrakis] lives!" (Sadly for my argument, two words.)
    Tolkien's famous, fantastical world was born from a single word, "Hobbit," written on a blank sheet of paper on a summer afternoon in 1930. — from a description of David Day's The 'Hobbit' Companion, 2002.
     

    lucas-sp

    Senior Member
    English - Californian
    Wait, what about isolated words that are, say, scrawled on a wall? :)
    Um... "being scrawled on a wall" is a context. A signboard outside a store is a context. A poster is a context. An art project is a context.

    Tolkien's inspiration - the "sentence that came to him" - also has a context: a writer's brainstorming. (And the invention of the word "hobbit" can't be divorced from Tolkien's earlier and ongoing efforts to create Elven languages, which in turn was informed by his philological research, etc.) Free association is also a context (that's why psychoanalysts charge so much per hour to help you do it, and help you understand its context). "Being in the resistance" is a context.

    Single words or ciphers in detective fiction obviously have a context. They can't be clues unless they will fit seamlessly into the context of a criminal's design. The detective's entire purpose is to discover the context - to find out how and to whom "Z" means something. The whodunit represents the triumph of absolute context: everything must turn out to be entirely relevant in the context of the crime that has been committed.

    Most importantly, a language is a context. No word in a language is without the context of a language. A word's meaning is never entirely determined by its context, but no word can entirely escape its context.
     

    gramman

    Senior Member
    I see your point, but if MickaelV had asked about these two words written on a wall, poster, mirror, envelope, or some such, rather than "a front page," would you have granted him the latitude you suggested:

    >>Then my answers might have been different.

    Please understand that I'm mostly just joking with you, but let me ask, how would you react to "disruptive" scrawled on a wall? Would you contemplate the grammatical analysis you engaged in earlier? Ironically, this might give the OP what he wants, now that we're off the front page. :) In the end, I expect he'll be disappointed, because I doubt that your reaction will be much of any different when confronted with the word "disrupting" written on any other surface.

    +++++

    I guess my point may be that it's the context of the situation, as you outlined, that provides an opportunity for useful analysis of one word, several, or many, not the means of conveyance. Would Z have meant anything close to what it did in that time if Lambrakis had made it safely home after that rally?
     
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    lucas-sp

    Senior Member
    English - Californian
    No, I think it's interesting. I think the context would really change the meaning, the way I receive the force of the word.

    For a graffito, I would prefer "disrupting" to "disruptive." Then it would seem like the graffito is naming what it's doing: "disrupting" the rules of urban space, "disrupting" the flow of my day, "disrupting" the ordinary course of my thoughts. As a word scrawled on a wall, it would be a gerund for me, and would feel more immediate and vital than "disruption." I think "disrupting" could be a fascinating tag - while "disruptive" would be almost childish, as if the tagger had been called "disruptive" in high school and was mocking the system in an obvious way.

    For a word scrawled on my mirror in lipstick... well, then, I would like to know who did the scrawling and what my relationship to her/him is! My interpretation of the word would have a lot to do with my understanding of his/her character and our relationships - why has s/he left this for me to find when I try to shave in the morning?

    But we are inventing context. In real life, even in theoretical life, we can't encounter either of these words - alone, printed/spray-painted/embossed/scrawled/etched as a single word - without any context.
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    But we are inventing context. In real life, even in theoretical life, we can't encounter either of these words - alone, printed/spray-painted/embossed/scrawled/etched as a single word - without any context.
    ... and on that note, and as the OP has not bothered to come back to provide any meaningful context, we shall call it a day. Thank you for your interesting comments.

    Andygc, moderator

     
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