satisfying or satisfactory?

Discussion in 'English Only' started by bosun, Dec 25, 2006.

  1. bosun Banned

    The two words are really confusing in terms of how/when to use it because the meaning is similar. So, I wonder if the following sentnece make sense to you. If you see any problems, could you correct it with comments?

    1. The test result was satisfying.

    2. I am living a satisfactory life.

    3. Everthing is satisfactory to me.
  2. panjandrum

    panjandrum Occasional Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    X is satisfying seems to be more active than X is satisfactory.
    (1) seems strange, I would prefer satisfactory.

    (2) is fine, it means you are content with your life.
    If you used satisfying it would sound a little strange but would suggest that everything that you do is satisfying and you live life to the full.

    (3) I don't think I could replace satisfactory with satisfying in this sentence.
  3. Edwin

    Edwin Senior Member

    Tampa, Florida, USA
    USA / Native Language: English
    If I say, The test result was satisfying, I think this means it pleased me. That is, I was happy with the result obtained.

    If I say, The test result was satisfactory, I would take this to mean that the grade just met minimum requirements.

    For some people a satisfactory grade might be satisfying, for others it might be quite unsatisfying.

    Generally speaking, I think:

    satisfactory = meeting minimum requirements
    satisfying = giving pleasure

    (but one can probably find counter-examples to these definitions.)
  4. bosun Banned

    Still,I am not sure when to use satisfactory or satisfying. Do I have to use it in terms of the difference of meaning you mentioned above? Or, Is there any way to make it clear in terms of grammatical feature?
    Can I say like like

    The working conditions are satisfactory (What I am trying to say, the working conditions are not bad.)
    The working conditions are satisfying(Everything is perfect. I love this place)

    My life is great. MY life is satisfying.
    My life is not that bad. My life is satisfacotory?
    He is a great person. I like him. He is a satisfactory person.

    What do you think?
  5. suzzzenn Senior Member

    New York
    USA English
  6. Ms Missy Senior Member

    U.S. Virgin Islands
    USA English
    With sentence #1, another way of looking at is might be to think of "satisfying" as being the opposite of "disappointing."

    The test result was satisfying. (It took away my fears).

    The test result was disappointing. (I was not pleased ).

    Hope this helps
  7. JENNY84 Member

    satisfactory - means that something is adequate or acceptable
    satisfaying - is when something meets your needs or requirements and has possitive associations.

    So what would be the difference between a "satisfactory" meal and a "satisfying" one?
    In the first case the meal was ok, in the second case it was one that you enjoyed.

    Hope it helps!
  8. Ms Missy Senior Member

    U.S. Virgin Islands
    USA English
    Here's another example from a scholastic grading system:

    A = (100 - 90) = outstanding

    B = (89 - 80) = very good

    C = (79 - 70) = satisfactory

    D = (69 - 60) = poor, but passing

    F = (59 ......) = failure, unsatisfactory

    His work is satisfactory, which means he is satisfying the academic requirements.

    In this context, satisfactory is an adverb, whereas satisfying would be a verb.

    Hope this helps!

  9. Ms Missy Senior Member

    U.S. Virgin Islands
    USA English
    Sorry ... I meant to say adjective instead of adverb!

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