satisfactory satisfying

benjaminlee

Senior Member
Chinese
This is a satisfactory answer. This is a satisfying answer.
I do not know which one is better. Your dictionary is not clear about their difference.So they are the same?
 
  • Linkway

    Senior Member
    British English
    'satisfying' and 'satisfactory' have different uses/meanings and nuances.

    For example:
    The student got a satisfactory grade in his mathematics exam. ( The grade was neither excellent nor abysmal but somewhere in between.)

    (In a restaurant): I find this roast duck satisfactory. (The food was neither excellent nor abysmal but somewhere in between.)
    (In a restaurant): I find this roast duck satisfying. (The food was tasty and enjoyable in my subjective opinion ~ it pleased me.)
     

    rhitagawr

    Senior Member
    British English
    They're not the same. Satisfactory means something like adequate. So this is a satisfactory answer. 60% in an exam isn't brilliant but it's probably satisfactory.
    Satisfying has more of an idea of making you feel good. He cheated me of my money and it was most satisfying to get my own back.
     

    Linkway

    Senior Member
    British English
    "satisfactory" tends to be used when some kind of objective/independent standard is being implied.

    "satisfying" tends to be used when it is an individual's personal opinion, i.e. it focuses on their own feelings about that thing.


    He answered the police officers' questions fully and gave a satisfactory explanation of his reasons for being in the office building after midnight.



    Edit: I agree with rhitagawr that satisfactory = adequate.
    In other words, I think rhitagawr's explanation is both more satisfactory and more satisfying!
     

    sevengem

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    In a test, the answer to the question is ''satisfactory''. But I chose ''satisfying''. What do you think?

    The explanation given by the manager yesterday was not at all _____ to us.
     

    DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    In a test, the answer to the question is ''satisfactory''. But I chose ''satisfying''. What do you think?

    The explanation given by the manager yesterday was not at all _____ to us.
    The idiomatic answer is definitely "satisfactory": it means you didn't think the manager's explanation answered your question properly in the way you would have liked.

    While "satisfying" is quite close in meaning, it conveys more the idea of something being enjoyable or gratifying. So I'm afraid it's just the wrong word to use in the context there, and sounds odd.
     
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