Worrying / worrisome

XInTheDark

Senior Member
English - Singapore
My sentence is: “What is _____ for the police most is that the goal of the terrorists this time is to attack foreign tourists.”
Should I use “worrying” or “worrisome” here? (Both can be used as adjectives.)

However, Cambridge Dictionary defines “worrisome” as “worrying”, so I don’t know how to differentiate the two. Anyone can help?
Reference: Cambridge Dictionary - “worrisome”
 
  • entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    'Worrisome' is a rather literary word, and probably wouldn't be used in conversation or in a news item like that. I think it also might be more habitual, not used for just one worrying incident.
     

    Chasint

    Senior Member
    English - England
    They are both correct. I have a suspicion that "worrisome" is used a little more often in American English than in British English. This is confirmed to a degree by looking at Google nGrams for the words.

    American English: Google Books Ngram Viewer

    British English: Google Books Ngram Viewer

    You will notice that, in both types of English, "worrisome" is much less frequent.
     

    XInTheDark

    Senior Member
    English - Singapore
    'Worrisome' is a rather literary word, and probably wouldn't be used in conversation or in a news item like that. I think it also might be more habitual, not used for just one worrying incident.
    Thanks! Just asking though, if the sentence is in rather formal contexts, is there any difference in the meanings of the words?
    I came across the sentence above in a vocabulary practice book and the answer was “worrisome”, although the two words are supposed to have similar or same meanings.

    They are both correct. I have a suspicion that "worrisome" is used a little more often in American English than in British English. This is confirmed to a degree by looking at Google nGrams for the words.

    American English: Google Books Ngram Viewer

    British English: Google Books Ngram Viewer

    You will notice that, in both types of English, "worrisome" is much less frequent.
    Hmm... I searched up “worrying” and “worrisome” in All types of English and saw that “worrying” was used much more frequently. But this might also be because “worrying” can also be used as a verb.
    -Ngram
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English (US - northeast)
    In my opinion you can use both words, but should change the sentence slightly:

    What is _____ for the police most is that the goal...
    What is worrying the police most is that the goal...
    What is most worrisome for the police is that the goal...


    As you can see, I am using "worrying" as a verbal form, which is more natural (to me) than using it as an adjective. If "worrying" is an adjective then "most" should come before the adjective:

    What is most worrying for the police is that the goal...
     

    hamlet

    Senior Member
    Français (FR)
    In my opinion you can use both words, but should change the sentence slightly:

    What is _____ for the police most is that the goal...
    What is worrying the police most is that the goal...
    What is most worrisome for the police is that the goal...


    As you can see, I am using "worrying" as a verbal form, which is more natural (to me) than using it as an adjective. If "worrying" is an adjective then "most" should come before the adjective:

    What is most worrying for the police is that the goal...
    Wouldn't the first sentence sound better with "the most" instead of just "most"?
    :arrow:What is worrisome for the police the most is that the goal...
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    I agree that the grammar of the original sentence is a bit clunky.

    The two ngrams plotted together. My guess is the worrisome difference is not statistically significant.

    Screenshot_20221124-215649.png
     
    Top