What shall I use in this sentence? functional or functioning? " The train that goes from my house to the university is ____, so I won't have any difficulty in going to the university today". And please explain the reason for your answer.

  • Have you considered asking this question at ELL (English language learners)? You might find it attracts greater attention and users tend to provide (usually) more detailed answers.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Aug 6, 2013 at 9:01
  • 1
    As Noah says, your route is neither functional nor functioning. You need a different adjective altogether.
    – RegDwigнt
    Aug 6, 2013 at 10:07
  • I hope it sounds better now Aug 6, 2013 at 10:16
  • 1
    "The train is functional" means it's in a good working order. Non-functional means broken. "The train is functioning" means it's actually working right now (moving along the tracks and perhaps making choo-choo sounds). Not functioning means either broken or switched off. In either case "the train" is understood to be a physical object with an engine and cars. A train route can't be functional or functioning, even if you use the word "train" metonymically to denote the route. Aug 6, 2013 at 20:25

2 Answers 2


Well, I don't know what you are getting at, but the sentence by itself doesn't make any sense. For one, "routes" are not machines and don't get old or stop functioning overtime, specially in today's world. Even if they do, the word "still" makes the sentence non-standard. Coming back to whether "functioning" or "functional" is correct, they both could be correct in a proper context. If it were a machine, I could say:

My threshing machine is still functioning, so I won't need to take my grass to someone else's machine for threshing.

The AC unit seems to be functional. It's working in the usual way, no need to worry about it.


Responding to the amended question, in British English, we wouldn't normally use any form of the word "function" in this context. We would normally say something like:

The train ... is running today.
The train ... is not running today.

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