‘stressed’ and ‘stressful’

Anyone else feeling stressed out? I’ve been editing an article about stress, and now I’m all jittery and restless, both because of the content and the misuse of the word ‘stressful’. 

Working from home is stressful.  ✅

I feel stressful when I have to work from home.  ❌

Okay, so what is the difference between stressed and stressful? Both are adjectives. However, they don’t mean the same thing. 

From Lexico.com:

stressed – Experiencing mental or emotional strain or tension. 

Notice that it always has the ‘ed’ at the end. It’s something you feel. Sometimes we use stressed out. It means the same thing but sounds less formal.

I feel stressed when I have to work from home.  ✅

When something is stressful, on the other hand, it means it causes stress.

stressful – Causing mental or emotional stress. 

It’s usually used to describe the thing that’s causing us stress—a stressful job, a stressful encounter with your ex, a stressful assignment.

It has been a stressful year for all of us.  ✅

The year has been causing us stress. Lots of stress. Oodles of stress. We’re all stressed out. My remedy for that? Chill out, read a book, don’t read articles about stress.

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