MG Mason

Wrong Word Wednesday #72


I used to do these every week, but now I do them when I have to stop and think about whether I am using the right word or see people using them interchangeably or using one when they mean the other. This is one that made me pause for thought because I’m sure I’ve used it interchangeably too.

Ambivalent vs Indifferent

It’s understandable that people get mixed up with these, after all they are very similar. Yet people tend to say ambivalent when they mean indifferent. There is one major and important difference and it concerns feeling about a subject. Both are nouns describing a feeling or emotion.

Ambivalent – in two minds or torn two different ways at once. Example: There are two films on today that my girlfriend and I want to watch. We’ve debated but neither of us can make up our mind what to watch. In this case, there are merits to both situations that you have weighed up, you just cannot make up your mind.

Indifferent – cannot decide between two different choices. You are not pulled in different directions, you simply have no strong feelings either way and either is equally as attractive as the other. Example: There are two films on today. I don’t care what we watch so I will go along with whatever she decides. It’s all good