In this English lesson we’ll compare the describing adjectives “scatterbrained” and “absentminded.” These two words have similar meanings with some key differences.
scatterbrained /ˈskætɚˌbreɪnd/ This is an adjective that describes a person who is disorganized, forgetful, or doesn’t think clearly.
The noun form is scatterbrain. It does not have an adverb.
This can be used to describe permanent trait or temporary one.
Permanent: “Andrew has always been pretty scatterbrained. He lost his keys three times this week”
Temporary: “Am I late? I’m sorry! I’ve been a little scatterbrained since I had my baby.”
Absentminded is an adjective that describes a person that is forgetful, doesn’t focus well, or is a little bit spacey.
Absentminded does not have a noun form but it does have an adverb: absentmindedly.
Like scatterbrained, it can describe a more permanent personality trait or a temporary state.
Permanent: “Lily has always been absentminded. She spilled her milk at dinner just yesterday because she was looking out the window.”
Temporary: “I haven’t been getting enough sleep and it’s been making me a bit absentminded. I left my phone at work yesterday and had to drive back to get it.”
Note that these aren’t positive traits but depending on who says it and how they say it, the words are not necessarily an insult, (though they can be).
Are you ever a bit absentminded or scatterbrained?
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