I say "I feel stressful" but my teacher, a native speaker of English, says that I should say "I feel stressed".

Both stressful and stressed are adjective.

Which is correct, I feel stressed or I feel stressful?

Why do we have "It is very interesting" but not "It is very stressing" yet "It is very stressful"?

  • stressful means that something causes stress. If that's how you feel, then say it, but you probably mean stressed. – curiousdannii Jul 24 '15 at 1:46
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    What makes you think you know more about the English language than your English teacher? That said, I'm sure you are stressful — to your teacher, who in turn feels stressed by you. – Jake Regier Jul 24 '15 at 1:54
  • what is wrong with this question? why it got voted down? nonsense – Tom Jul 24 '15 at 2:20
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    @JakeRegier That wasn’t very nice. – tchrist Jul 24 '15 at 3:05
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because I think you can find relevant definitions of 'stressed' and 'stressful' in any recent (and reasonably good) dictionary. Merriam-Webster's Eleventh Collegiate Dictionary certainly provides such definitions. – Sven Yargs Jul 24 '15 at 8:27

Stressful means "causing stress". You can check any dictionary.

Environment, circumstances, work can be stressful, that is they are causing stress for somebody.

So if you say "I feel stressful," it would mean "I feel that I am causing stress (for somebody)." The word stressful is just not used in this way.

Correct expression is "I feel stressed."


stressed - adjective - feeling very worried or anxious.

stressful - adjective - full of or causing stress.

Therefore, stressed has to do with how you feel, and stressful has to do with what you are full of.

I am stressful would likely be more correct than I feel stressful, much like one would say The tank is full of gas.

  • Why do we have "It is very interesting" but no "It is very stressing" but "It is very stressful"? – Tom Jul 24 '15 at 2:14
  • @user105551 That is a good point. Some things are the way they are, because they always have been. I can tell you the what, but not the why. – Tyler Kropp Jul 24 '15 at 2:17
  • @user105551 Stressing can be used as a verb in a sentence related to speech. He is stressing the 'but'. – Tyler Kropp Jul 24 '15 at 2:19
  • but "stress" in that sentence has different meaning – Tom Jul 24 '15 at 2:22
  • @user105551 Think about it in the context. He is stressing. Does that mean he causes you stress or is stressing a word in speech? How would we know? We wouldn't know. However, it would be the speech context, since stressing is not an adjective. – Tyler Kropp Jul 24 '15 at 2:25

The underlying reason your teacher is right (not necessarily correct) is that the teacher is teaching you idiomatic American English. Native speakers use and are familiar with the "I feel stressed" phrasing; "I feel stressful", while technically correct according to your dictionary definitions, is not idiomatic, and native American English speakers are likely to be puzzled by or derisive of the usage.

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