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Is it grammatically correct to say "I was enthused" rather than "I was enthusiastic"?

If so, what is the difference between the two?

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closed as general reference by MετάEd, Mahnax, FumbleFingers, tchrist, kiamlaluno Sep 3 '12 at 23:52

This question is too basic; it can be definitively and permanently answered by a single link to a standard internet reference source designed specifically to find that type of information.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

When I hear enthused I almost always want to hear it followed by "...about [something]." It seems to leave you hanging. I don't have the same reaction to "I was enthusiastic." – JLG Aug 22 '12 at 14:01

1 Answer 1

The answer is one of preference, not grammar.

Enthused is a back-formation. Because it's newer, some people may be more used to hearing enthusiastic. Also, as the quote below indicates, the two words can have different implications.

Quoth the grammarist:

... problems arise when enthused is used as a past-participle adjective in place of enthusiastic, which is a perfectly good, and far older, word. Plus, the adjective enthused can carry an ironic tone and is difficult to use in earnest.

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But Enthused can be a verb where as enthusiastic can't, so there are more significant differences surely? I enthused, he enthused etc... Also, what is back formation? Can you link me? – SirYakalot Aug 24 '12 at 7:29
A participle can be part of a verb phrase. It is derived from a verb but not one itself. You may even say that both act as nouns in your sentences because of the copulative verb. Back-formation: – mac389 Aug 24 '12 at 12:09

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