Both versions are correct, but Version 2), with "deceiving" is by far the more used. It has become a standard comment, almost a cliche.

Doing a Google search I found 4,230 instances of "Appearances can be deceptive" in contrast to 22,200 instances of "Appearances can be deceiving."

Marilyn Martin
I have to disagree with the two previous responses. 'Deceptive' is the adjectival form while 'deceiving' (although now commonly used as an adjective) is the verb form.

Just because most people say something a certain way doesn't necessarily make it correct. Most people think 'aggravate' means 'to annoy' but it means nothing of the sort.

The original saying was "appearances can be deceptive". The Americanised version has gained popularity only over the last five or ten years as literacy levels have plummeted.
Hi, Wilcowoods, and welcome to GE.

I have to disagree with your reply on several counts.

(1) Deceiving is a participle, and participles can be used as adjectives before nouns and after linking verbs. That is what the sentence has, and there is nothing ungrammatical, "new-fangled" or illiterate about it.

(2)
quote:
Just because most people say something a certain way doesn't necessarily make it correct.


What defines correct usage? Language changes, and if the majority of speakers use a certain construction or use a word in a certain way, then that usage becomes accepted. Dictionaries don't tell us what words are "supposed" to mean; rather, they record how people have used words to mean certain things.

(3)
quote:
Most people think 'aggravate' means 'to annoy' but it means nothing of the sort.


The Oxford English Dictionary records this meaning of "aggravate" from 1611. I think 400 years is long enough to say that "aggravate" does, indeed, have this other meaning as well.

You are implying that someone who says "Appearances can be deceiving" rather than "Appearances can be deceptive" is bordering on the illiterate for using an "Americanized" version. (And why you think that "deceiving" is an Americanized version is beyond me.) I find both of those implications offensive. Please be more careful in your choice of words in the future.
This topic does have a lot of views -- well over a thousand, as you point out, Okaasan.

We can top that, with over 13,000 for this one:

http://thegrammarexchange.info...=469103614#469103614

Here's my guess: People who are not members of the Grammar Exchange are looking up topics on Google such as "deceptive vs. deceiving" and "comma before too." The GE topics sometimes turn up in such searches.
The problem here is that the word "deceive" is transitive, which means it requires an object. That is why the phrase "appearances can be deceiving" is incorrect. You have to be deceiving SOMETHING. Maybe appearances can be deceiving YOU. Or appearances could be deceiving Bob. It is correct to say "appearances can be deceptive" because the "deceptive" is an adjective which is correctly used to describe the noun "appearances".
Hello, Amdmathews, and welcome to the Grammar Exchange.

It doesn't matter whether or not a verb is transitive; the -ing ending, the present participle, can be used as an adjective.

Here are some examples of transitive verbs in their -ing adjectival form correctly used in phrases:

a surprising snowstorm
a shocking revelation
an amusing joke
a depressing situation
an interesting man

The -ing form of the verb as an adjective in the sentences above describes the noun as having the characteristic of surprising people, of shocking people, of amusing people, of depressing people, or of interesting people.

Correspondingly, the people will be surprised, shocked, amused, depressed, or interested.

'Appearances can be deceiving' is correct. Some people will be deceived by appearances.
Welcome to Grammar Exchange, Amdmathews.

While your theory is interesting, it is contradicted by reputable dictionaries on both sides of the pond. The verb 'deceive' is listed as both transitive and intransitive by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary as well as the American Heritage Dictionary, for example. The Oxford Dictionary also lists 'deceive' as being used both with and without an object.

Speaking of 'interesting', that brings another point to mind: The verb 'interest' is listed in dictionaries as being transitive, yet I doubt that you or anyone else would argue that it is incorrect to use 'interesting' as an adjective.

I agree wholeheartedly with Okaasan's earlier post.


EDIT:
Sorry, Rachel. Your post wasn't there yet when I began mine.
Thanks for the input. My thinking came from a usage guide which listed "deceptive" as the standard form and "deceiving" as the non-standard form. Standard and non-standard can be tricky judgments to make anyway in English as it changes so quickly, so I might have used those words to state my preference rather than correct and incorrect. As for the transitive/intransitive issue, the dictionary I used may have been lacking as it only listed the verb as transitive. Mea culpa.
Sorry for bumping an old thread, but I just stumbled upon this conversation.

Rachel used these examples as support for the word deceiving:

a surprising snowstorm
a shocking revelation
an amusing joke
a depressing situation
an interesting man

However, most of these words don't have an adjectival form that ends in -ive, i.e. we don't say surprisive, shockive, amusive, or interestive; depressive is an adjective, so perhaps depressing is a similar case to deceiving. In any event, deceiving may not be technically incorrect, but I would say that deceptive is at least more correct.
This has been a very interesting discussion. I think it is fair to say that usage has established that either way is acceptable yet people still object quite vehemently to the use of 'deceiving' despite it obviously being far more common. I think I can offer an explanation as to why people are so adamant that deceptive should be correct. If you go far further back in time you can see that the 'ing' suffix is of germanic origin, where as the 'ive' suffix is of French origin. The reason that so many people think 'ive' must be correct is that 'deceit' itself also has a French origin. To be ultimately pedantic putting 'deceit' and 'ing' together is breeding together two different language roots. Whereas putting 'deceit' together with 'ive' seems to flow more naturally as being from the same language. It may be that the defenders of 'deceptive' are subconsciously recognising this distinction.
rs posted:
Hello,

Which is correct please ?

1) Appearances can be deceptive.

2) Appearances can be deceiving.

Many thanks.
Ricky

This controversy first came up on this site about 17 years ago and I must commend the efforts some scholars have put up to help us understand these words and their uses.

My opinion:

Participles, generally, are words formed from verbs or verbs themselves, which are used as adjectives or nouns (gerunds).

Example:

*Amuse (verb) *Amusing joke (adj) *Amused tourists (adj) *Amusing people is my hobby (noun) *I like amusing people (ambg) *I like amusing myself (verb)

Deceptive vs. Deceiving

Any participle formed as an ADJECTIVE and whose adverb form doesn't exist except as a cliche may be considered as:

'Technically Incorrect Participle' ---(TIP)---

Otherwise, consider using a 'Universally Accepted Derivative' ---(UnAD)---

However, you can have a 'Universally Accepted Participle' ---(UnaP)---

Example:

1. Joke (verb)

A joking manner (adj) (UnAP)

He jokingly responded (adv) (UnaD)

Joking with you is fun (gerund) (UnaP)

We were joking with you (verb)

 

2. Impress (verb)

Impressing looks (TIP)

Impressive looks (UnAD)

Impressed designs (UnaP)

He impressingly responded (TIP)

He impressively responded (UnAD)

Impressing a girl requires art and act (UnaP)

The printer is impressing the logo on the gifts (verb)

 

3. Deceive (verb)

Appearances are deceiving (TIP)

Appearances are deceptive (UnAD)

Deceived generation (UnAP)

He deceivingly responded (TIP)

He deceptively responded (UnAD)

Deceiving people is vicious (UnaP)

That man is deceiving them (verb)

 

This is suffice to say that you can't have two derivatives for a word and both will have an adverb form.

Deceive - Deceived (UnaP) - Deceivedly (error) - Deceivingly (TIP) - Deceptive(ly) (UnaD)

Impress - Impressed (UnaP - Impressedly (error) - Impressingly (TIP) - Impressive(ly) (UnAD)

Joke - Joked (UnAP) - Joking (UnaP) - Jokingly (UnAD)

I am open to comments.

Thank you.

+234 706 572 3446

 

 

 

 

ro posted:
This has been a very interesting discussion. I think it is fair to say that usage has established that either way is acceptable yet people still object quite vehemently to the use of 'deceiving' despite it obviously being far more common. I think I can offer an explanation as to why people are so adamant that deceptive should be correct. If you go far further back in time you can see that the 'ing' suffix is of germanic origin, where as the 'ive' suffix is of French origin. The reason that so many people think 'ive' must be correct is that 'deceit' itself also has a French origin. To be ultimately pedantic putting 'deceit' and 'ing' together is breeding together two different language roots. Whereas putting 'deceit' together with 'ive' seems to flow more naturally as being from the same language. It may be that the defenders of 'deceptive' are subconsciously recognising this distinction.

This controversy first came up on this site about 17 years ago and I must commend the efforts some scholars have put up to help us understand these words and their uses.

My opinion:

Participles, generally, are words formed from verbs or verbs themselves, which are used as adjectives or nouns (gerunds).

Example:

*Amuse (verb) *Amusing joke (adj) *Amused tourists (adj) *Amusing people is my hobby (noun) *I like amusing people (ambg) *I like amusing myself (verb)

Deceptive vs. Deceiving

Any participle formed as an ADJECTIVE and whose adverb form doesn't exist except as a cliche may be considered as:

'Technically Incorrect Participle' ---(TIP)---

Otherwise, consider using a 'Universally Accepted Derivative' ---(UnAD)---

However, you can have a 'Universally Accepted Participle' ---(UnaP)---

Example:

1. Joke (verb)

A joking manner (adj) (UnAP)
He jokingly responded (adv) (UnaD)
Joking with you is fun (gerund) (UnaP)
We were joking with you (verb)

2. Impress (verb)

Impressing looks (TIP)
Impressive looks (UnAD)
Impressed designs (UnaP)
He impressingly responded (TIP)
He impressively responded (UnAD)
Impressing a girl requires art and act (UnaP)
The printer is impressing the logo on the gifts (verb)

3. Deceive (verb)

Appearances are deceiving (TIP)
Appearances are deceptive (UnAD)
Deceived generation (UnAP)
He deceivingly responded (TIP)
He deceptively responded (UnAD)
Deceiving people is vicious (UnaP)
That man is deceiving them (verb)

This is suffice to say that you can't have two derivatives for a word and both will have an adverb form.

Deceive - Deceived (UnaP) - Deceivedly (error) - Deceivingly (TIP) - Deceptive(ly) (UnaD)

Impress - Impressed (UnaP - Impressedly (error) - Impressingly (TIP) - Impressive(ly) (UnAD)

Joke - Joked (UnAP) - Joking (UnaP) - Jokingly (UnAD)

I am open to comments.

Thank you.

Add Reply

Likes (0)
×
×
×
×