Difference Between Inspiring and Inspirational

English can sometimes be a very confusing language. Words are often too much alike and differ only in a minor aspect, making the speaker mix up and err.


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These words are known as homophones, and it can be hard to distinguish them and use them correctly unless their meaning is distinctly clear to the user.

One such example of homophones is the words inspiring and inspirational. They both come from the root word “inspire” and are often confused and misused by even the most exceptional English speakers.

Key Takeaways

  1. Inspiring refers to something that stimulates or encourages creative or intellectual activity.
  2. Inspirational refers to something that can evoke strong emotions or feelings of awe or admiration.
  3. Inspiring focuses more on the process or action, while inspirational is more on the impact or outcome.

Inspiring vs Inspirational

Inspiring can motivate or stimulate someone to take action or achieve a goal. For example, a speech by a great leader can be inspiring, as it encourages people to work towards a common goal. Inspirational provide emotional or spiritual upliftment and can encourage someone to live a better life or be a better person.  For example, a book or a movie that inspires someone to believe in themselves.

Inspiring vs Inspirational

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Inspiring is used in a situation where someone or something has been inspired. Inspirational is when something or someone has the potential to inspire, but whether or not that inspiration has been or will be bestowed is unclear. 

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonInspiringInspirational
DefinitionInspiring can be defined as the ability or way something inspires.Inspirational can be defined as the capability of something to inspire.
MotiveWhen using the word inspiring, the motive is to state that something can inspire and has very well executed it.The motive for using inspirational is to state that something has the potential to inspire, but whether it will do so remains yet to be seen.
EffectInspiring is more inclined towards the fact that something has provided inspiration. When something is inspiring, it means that inspiration has been imparted. There is a completion of the action. There is no doubt about that.Inspirational refers to the fact that something can provide inspiration, but it is not sure whether that inspiration has been imparted. There is no definite completion of this action. There is an air of mystery and wonderment here.
Part of speechInspiring can be used as a verb as well as an adjective.Inspirational can only be used as an adjective.
OriginInspiring comes from the word inspire.Inspirational comes from the word inspiration.

What is Inspiring?

Inspiring is a word that is believed to come from the word “inspire”. It is an adjective but can often be used as a verb.

The word inspire comes from the Latin verb “inspirio”, which means the same as “inspire”, which is to motivate someone or to fill them with the urge to do something.

Inspiring is usually used as an adjective, but it can also be used as a verb, depending on the situation. Inspiring means that something has inspired or provided inspiration to the speaker through action or state of being in a situation.

The main thing to focus on here is the completion and finality of the action. When using the word inspiring, the stress is on the tremendous amount of inspiration gained.

Also, depending on the context, inspiring is always positive and empowering.


What is Inspirational?

Inspirational is believed to come from the word inspiration. Originally, it comes from the Latin verb “inspirio” and has a similar overall meaning.

But there are certain aspects in which it is slightly different.

The word inspirational, often confused with inspiring, is supposed to be used in a rather different context. In its right context, inspirational denotes the potential to inspire a person, thing, or situation.

When said that something is inspirational, it does not mean it has inspired, but it can and can.

In this way, inspirational can also be used in many negative contexts, best executed in compounds. Inspirational, when used, implies a lot of unfinished business and motive, and the effect is to leave the audience or reader wondering.


Main Differences Between Inspiring and Inspirational

  1. Inspiring comes from the word inspire, and inspirational comes from the word inspirational. While both have the same root word inspirio, which has the same meaning, their meanings branch out. Inspiring denotes completion of the action, and inspirational denotes the potential to achieve that completion. 
  2. Inspiring means something has inspired, while inspirational means something can inspire. Inspiring conveys that something instils motivation or the urge to do something. Inspirational conveys that something can inspire, but it remains unclear whether it has done so.
  3. Inspiring focuses on the effect an action or situation has produced, while inspirational focuses on the effect action or situation can produce.
  4. Inspiring can also be used as a verb and an adjective, depending on the context, which again stresses its completion and finality. But inspirational only be used as an adjective.
  5. Inspiring can only be used in a positive context, but inspirational can also be used in a negative context or as an exaggeration or hyperbole. Being an adjective, the word inspirational opens up the possibility of a wide range of use, which is not always positive. This is usually done with compound adjectives to stress the negativity or exaggeration of the inspirational quality the situation strives to attend.
Difference Between Inspiring and Inspirational
  1. https://www.emerald.com/insight/content/doi/10.1108/JPCC-09-2015-0005/full/html
  2. https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED546804
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