offending [offensive] vs insulting

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Bella12345

Member
Vietnamese
Which word is more suitable in this sentence, offending or insulting?
I find his behaviour towards me quite....He treats me like an idiot.
Could you explain your answer, please?
I choose "insulting" because it means "disrepectful" but the key answer is "offending". I wonder If it may be wrong?
Thanks in advance!:)
 
  • Ça y est!

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    Here, the choice is between insulting and offensive. I would say offensive is stronger. In the case of your sentence, either would work for me, but, to me, "insulting" implies that he's using words, rather than actions, to be disrespectful to you.
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Here, the choice is between insulting and offensive. I would say offensive is stronger. In the case of your sentence, either would work for me, but, to me, "insulting" implies that he's using words, rather than actions, to be disrespectful to you.
    This makes a good point, but actions, or indeed a person's manner, can be insulting, in my view.

    Insults, however, have to be spoken, I'd say.

    You're right, Bella; that answer was wrong, and your answer was perfectly correct. One could also have put offensive.
     

    Bella12345

    Member
    Vietnamese
    Thanks your opinions, guys!:) I have checked these two words in dictionary and found that:
    "Insulting" is something "disrespectful to the subject III. Ex:You can't offer such a low salary to someone who is so highly skilled - it's insulting.
    or the subject I. Ex:The questions were insultingly easy.
    What I mean is exactly that in a sentence or saying, if the speaker is subject I, the listener is subject II and something else is subject III, The word "insulting" is just for I and III not II.
    So i should have excluded the choice "insulting" and "offending" is the correct answer.
    How about you? What do you think about my opinion?
    Anyway, Thank you very much for your sincere replies!
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    To be sincere, as requested, I think you are quite wrong, and I wonder why you persist in putting offending when we've both been telling you to put offensive.

    I ought to add that I didn't understand the part of your post about subjects I, II, and III, so I couldn't follow your argument, Bella.
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    "offending" is the exact word from the test.
    Yes, but whoever wrote the test was wrong. As others have said, the correct form of the word in this context is 'offensive'.
    What I mean is exactly that in a sentence or saying, if the speaker is subject I, the listener is subject II and something else is subject III, The word "insulting" is just for I and III not II.
    :confused: I speaking to II:
    "He called you an idiot? You must have found that insulting."
     

    Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    There is a word "offending", which means "committing a criminal offence". E.g. In the car accident, the offending driver was found to be under the influence of drink.

    The person who set the test was mistaken to use it here.
     

    Bella12345

    Member
    Vietnamese
    Yes, but whoever wrote the test was wrong. As others have said, the correct form of the word in this context is '' offensive''
    I admit it is "offensive" that is the correct form of the word in that context. The reason why i still mention "offending" is due to the fact that i have searched this question on the internet and received the answer "offending" on many websites.
    I speaking to II:
    "He called you an idiot? You must have found that insulting."
    I agree with you about this example. For sure if "Someone called me an idiot. I must found that insulting" and so when you rewrite this sentence, i must be " Being called an idiot is insulting" NOT "I was insulting when someone called me an idiot".

    This rule is similar in other situations "This sunday, I have nothing to do but watch TV. I find it so boring" ---> "Watching TV is so boring" NOT " I was so boring". However, it will be correct if you write " I was so bored"

    And now, come back to my question, if the sentence is "I find his behaviour towards me quite insulting. He treats me like an idiot." , it will be rewrote into " His behaviour is insulting" not " I was insulting"
    So my question at this moment is "how can his behaviour is insulting? " because it will mean that "he is insulted" whose meaning bears no relation to the question which aim to express the unpleasant feeling of "I" when being treated like an idiot.

    Occasionally, "offensive" or even "offending" bring that meaning "Causing unpleasant feeling". This is the source http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/british/offending and http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/british/offensive

    I think this exercise does require not only understanding of lexical but grammar as well.

    So why don't we choose "offensive" to fill in this blank????????????????

    I have said that my first choice is "insulting" but after regarding of the grammar and the results on the other websites, I have changed my mind to "offensive" which qualifies for both grammar and meaning.

    That is exactly what i meant to say in the rule "subject I II III". I agree without resistance that the way i express my idea is so bad that no one understand. Actually, it took me one hour to rearrange my idea and write this comment. The reason why i insist on "offensive" is that i have searched this question on the internet and received the answer "offending" on many websites not just the grammar of it.

    Thanks for all:)
     
    Last edited:

    Ça y est!

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    Occasionally, "offensive" or even "offending" bring that meaning "Causing unpleasant feeling". This is the source http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/british/offending and http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/british/offensive
    Bella,

    I think it may be the dictionary example for "offending" that is causing you problems (but I could be wrong). The example is:

    "There's a hair in my soup!" "Well, pass it over here and I'll remove the offending article."

    This is an accurate use of the word, but it is highly misleading. Offending here is being used in exactly the way described by Keith Bradford, but in joking way -- the hair is being treated as if it were a guilty party in a legal proceeding. I think the dictionary made a mistake in not choosing a more normal example.
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    [...]And now, come back to my question, if the sentence is "I find his behaviour towards me quite insulting. He treats me like an idiot." , it will be rewrote into " His behaviour is insulting" not " I was insulting"
    So my question at this moment is "how can his behaviour is insulting? " because it will mean that "he is insulted" whose meaning bears no relation to the question which aim to express the unpleasant feeling of "I" when being treated like an idiot.
    If the behaviour is insulting, he will be insulted by it. And the insulting person will insult the other by his behaviour.

    If the behaviour is offensive, he will be offended by it. And the offensive person will offend the other by his behaviour.

    Bella, please note the difference in the way the two verbs are transformed into adjectives.

    I don't think behaviour can easily be offending, because offending is an adjective which is applied to people who break the law, or to figures for them, like the hair in the soup in the previous example.

    If you've received the answer 'offending' in many websites, then make a mental note not to trust those websites in future. What happens, of course, is that MISTAKES like this are made in the original exercise and then just copied by the people who just copy the exercise.
     

    Bella12345

    Member
    Vietnamese
    I agree with your opinions, Thomas and Cayest. It is persuasive, really. Thank you!!!:)

    But I am still so confusing now because even the best-English student in my school choose "offending". However, she may be wrong.I hope this question don't appear in the important exam.

    Since now, if i meet any other exercises involving these three words,i will apply your suggestions. Thank you a lot!!!!!!!! I believe you.
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I agree with your opinions, Thomas and Cayest. It is persuasive, really. Thank you!!!:)

    But I am still so confusing now because even the best-English student in my school choose "offending". However, she may be wrong.I hope this question don't appear in the important exam.

    Since now, if i meet any other exercises involving these three words,i will apply your suggestions. Thank you a lot!!!!!!!! I believe you.
    You're not confusing, Bella; you are confused. It's a similar error to the one made by the best English student in your school.

    A confusing explanation will leave the students confused.
     

    Bella12345

    Member
    Vietnamese
    Yes, sir.=)))) It is my mistake but the best English sister in my school will never make this mistake except when she is careless. We know this rule of grammar. Thank you!:)
     

    Linkway

    Senior Member
    British English
    Hi Bella12345

    As mentioned above, "offending" often means "forbidden by law" or "breaking the law".

    e.g.
    "He was released from prison on parole but was locked up again because he continued to offend (against the law)."
    "Offending behaviour deserves punishment."

    In your example sentence "insulting" is probably the best choice; "offensive" could also work but not "offending". If someone said to me: "You are an idiot" that would be insulting but not in itself against the law in all or most countries.


    However, it's important to note that if we change the sentence a little, the use of a suitable form of "offend" is quite correct and natural.

    eg "I was offended by his insults." --- This has nothing to do with "the law" or what is illegal. It simply means that I was hurt/annoyed/irritated/outraged (etc) by his insults.

    "Although I was offended by his suggestion that my painting (or cookery, or piano playing, etc) lacked talent, I tried to ignore it."

    You can also say "He offended me by suggesting that I [eg] talk too much (or have bad breath)."

    This again has nothing to do with the law or what is illegal.


    Basically, if the context is personal (I offended him, He offended me, etc) it is not to do with the law - it is about how the other person is made to feel.

    If the context is crime etc, "offend", "offending", etc, mean "offend/ing against the law" (ie break the law).
     
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