It’s summer but that doesn’t mean Grading Girl doesn’t have time for a mini-lesson! I can’t help it . . . when I hear a grammar goof, my wheels start spinning. I was in a boutique the other day and couldn’t help but overhear a fellow patron in the next dressing room exclaim she was nauseous and needed the nearest bathroom. Apparently, she had a rough pre-4th celebration. Well, her demise is my opportunity – opportune moment for a mini-lesson, that is! There is a fine line between these two sick depictions. I know, I’ve made the same mistake but here’s the real deal, folks. You can now be grammatically correct even when you’re feeling the need for some sidewalk pizza. 😉
Are you nauseous or nauseated?
Nauseous is an adjective that means causing nausea; sickening; disgusting; sickening to contemplate
Nauseated is a verb that means to feel nausea; become sick; sick at the stomach
Do not, therefore, say “I feel nauseous” unless you are sure you have that ill effect on others! I don’t think the dressing room girl made everyone else around her feel sick – she felt sick from something she did or ate; therefore, she was nauseated.
An example from the brilliant Dr. Seuss:
You nauseate me, Mr. Grinch.
With a nauseous super-naus.
taken from the lyrics of “Mr. Grinch”
“That leftover salmon dish is so nauseous that I don’t even want to walk near the kitchen.” (used as an adjective . . . in this case, the salmon dish does have the ill effect on others)
“It nauseates me to look at that disgusting picture.” (used as a verb . . . the picture makes me feel nausea)