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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: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Back-formation –  mac389 Aug 24 '12 at 12:09

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