She stared at the washing machine hypnotically.

A native English speaker told me that hypnotically was being used incorrectly. He said, "[...] hypnotically isn't used correctly here. What you mean is that the washing machine was hypnotic not that she was trying to hypnotize the washing machine."

Is hypnotically being used correctly here? If not, that's the correct alternative?

1 Answer 1


Hypnotically actually refers to something that causes hypnosis, not someone affected by hypnosis. Instead you want to say:

She stared at the washing machine as if hypnotized

A more accurate use of "hypnotically"

The pendulum of the old grandfather clock in the hallway swung hypnotically back and forth, and Fred found himself growing sleepy as he waited for Mary to come down.

  • Ah, thanks. So the native English speaker was right.
    – alex
    Sep 14, 2017 at 14:55
  • 1
    In this case, yes. We aren't always right :)
    – Andrew
    Sep 14, 2017 at 15:03

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