I'm looking for a word to mean "should not have happened." I'm trying to relate this situation; two paths - one positive, one negative - with the same end result, and the negative path was taken.

Help please! Thank You!

Update: OK, so the 2 paths being: my daughter had a cut by her eye, the doctor chose stitches instead of suture glue, and the ensuing pain, torn stitches, and inability to remove them all could have been avoided if she'd just used the glue in the first place. The sentence I am trying to finish is: "Based on the open scarring left behind from the use of sutures, the whole experience seems __."

  • Can you be more specific? Are you looking for something like a "happy accident"? Mar 11, 2014 at 15:23
  • How exactly would the word be used in the situation you describe?
    – Urbycoz
    Mar 11, 2014 at 15:23
  • Maybe All's well that ends well. But to really have any idea we would need to know more about what you are trying to accomplish with this word or expression with more detail than "two paths -- one positive, one negative"
    – virmaior
    Mar 11, 2014 at 16:01
  • Do you want this answered the hard way or the easy way? The implication being you'll end up in the same place whichever way you go, but one way will be much more unpleasant/difficult than the other. Mar 11, 2014 at 16:48
  • duh, Pointless! Sometimes it just takes a little time and bouncing around to get the proper word to jog. Thanks everyone!
    – Melissa
    Mar 11, 2014 at 18:26

5 Answers 5


Barring a more detailed example, I think that "regrettable" could be a good fit.

"The results from taking the wrong path were regrettable.

From the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary:

"Regrettable": causing sadness or disappointment; deserving regret

Examples of REGRETTABLE:

"His decision to quit is regrettable."

"It was a regrettable mistake."

  • Death is regrettable, but not avoidable. Being late for an appointment because you choose to walk is regrettable and avoidable. Mar 11, 2014 at 19:43

I like preventable or unnecessary in your sentence. Both have very negative connotations without seeming rude. You could just go with avoidable too.

preventable: capable of being prevented; "conscious of preventable human suffering"


I would use ill-advised, misguided, wrong-headed, or mistaken.

"Based on the open scarring left behind from the use of sutures, the whole experience seems ill-advised."

"Based on the open scarring left behind from the use of sutures, the whole experience seems misguided."

While not an answer specifically to the question (it is more verbose and adds a phrase instead of a word), I would phrase the sentence as follows:

"Based on the open scarring left behind from the use of sutures, the whole experience seems needlessly invasive and not in the best interests of the patient."

  • This sentence has been bugging me for a couple days, and I do believe I like your more verbose version better than the original. Thanks for the help :)
    – Melissa
    Mar 11, 2014 at 22:36

I suspect the awkwardness lies in some cross-wiring: the two paths do not lead to the same end result--that's what defines one option as preferable. But that only made the decision regrettable, not the "whole experience". The "whole ordeal" includes the involuntary accident outside the medical decision-making, rendering 'regret', 'pointless' and 'avoidable' kind of unmusical. (You can't regret a tornado or refer to sneezing as pointless.)

"What made the whole experience so disappointing was the avoidable scarring left behind by the unnecessary sutures."

  • This is not really an answer to the question. To leave constructive criticism or to clarify a question (or answer), earn the reputation required to comment.
    – Ted Broda
    May 27, 2014 at 21:19

I would use the 1st, conveys the point you're trying to make: (could have been) Avoided / (was) Avoidable / (was) Needless.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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