Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I am wondering if it is correct to say:

This is a transitioning phase.

Personally, I would say

This is a transitional phase.

but my friend insists that the above is just as correct as my version.

Any insight would be greatly appreciated!

share|improve this question
add comment

3 Answers 3

They are both correct; however, the first is somewhat ambiguous (in that it could mean the phase is transitioning). Hence it is much less common:

Since ambiguity should be guarded against whenever possible, my advice to you is: go on saying "transitional phase"!

share|improve this answer
    
Can you add a link to the NGram search results even if you include the image? It helps if I want to toy around with it a bit. :) –  MrHen Jul 13 '11 at 23:01
add comment

Grammatically, there's no problem -- any participle can be legally used as an adjective.

Is it as effective, insofar as language use? I'd say not, because it's ambiguous -- what is "transitioning": items/processes inside the phase, or is the phase itself moving to something else (as in a workflow)?

If there's no chance it will be misunderstood, given its context, then fair enough -- but it never hurts to take no chances, so tell him it's safer to use "transitional".

share|improve this answer
add comment

They probably convey similar meanings. That suggests to me that transitioning is unnecessary, as is the use of transition as a verb; but, apart from being an annoying neologism, it is difficult to argue transitioning phase is incorrect.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.