I know that appealing means attractive. But are there any other differences between these? I mean, for example, is this sentence right?

She is appealing.

What's the difference between the above sentence with this one ?

She is attractive.

Where is it better to use "appealing" and where is it better and more normal to use "attractive"?

  • I associate "appealing" with children and younger teens (i.e., their innocence) and "attractive" with older teenagers and adults. Calling someone's eleven-year-old daughter "attractive" sounds a bit creepy, at least to my sensibilities, while saying "She's very appealing" would be fine. – Mark Hubbard Jul 27 '16 at 15:07
up vote 2 down vote accepted

The words are similar. In AmE, I would suggest that which is attractive can be appealing and visa versa. There is a slight differentiation between the two, however, in that "attractive" implies some visual aspect to the "attractiveness". The visual aspect may not account entirely for why you think something is attractive but for something to be attractive some aspect of it should be visually appealing. Things that are attractive have a tendency to "turn your head" so you can take a look at them.

Appealing, on the other hand, suggests that the appealing object affects you emotionally, spiritually, visually, etc. Things that are appealing have a tendency to "speak to you" or "draw you in".

So it would be odd to say, "Does the orchestra sound attractive?" Better to say, "Does the orchestra sound appealing?'

One might say, "Do you find the chrome on my motorcycle attractive?" One might also say, "Do you find the chrome on my motorcycle appealing?" If one finds the chrome attractive they overtly mean it's pleasant to see. If one finds the chrome appealing they might add chrome to their motorcycle or desire a ride on yours.

Appealing simply means attractive. There is no major difference between these words.

I would say, using attractive in a sentence is more appropriate if the object has to stand out. For example,

The movie poster is attractive.

Appealing can be used in places where it pleases your eyes. For example,

The painting is so appealing to watch.

You can very well say, "she is attracting me." But it is meaningless to say "she is appealing me."

  • Didn't you mean "she is attractive." "she is attracting me" gives a different meaning. – Usernew Jul 27 '16 at 14:03

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