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Jeremy Rondonuwu
Can anybody tell me the difference between "A panicked student" and "A panicking student"? Do they have any discrepancy in meaning?
May 8, 2019 12:00 PM
Comments · 7

Consider these -


A burning house.  A burned house.

A sinking ship.  A sunken ship.

A stopping car.  A stopped car.


May 9, 2019

These are participial adjectives and they're not necessarily related to the tense: interested/interesting, surprised/surprising.

As adjectives, both "panicked" and "panicking" can be used to describe someone in a panic. However, only "panicked" can be used to describe something that was done in a panic.

a panicked boy CORRECT 

a panicking boy CORRECT 

a panicked response CORRECT 

a panicking response INCORRECT

May 9, 2019
There is a difference between "the student panicked" and "the panicked student." In the first case, we're dealing with a verb, and yes, the action is situated in the past. In the second, we're dealing with an adjective, and that descriptor may refer to a past, present, or future state, depending on the context. By itself, it doesn't tell you much about the temporal state.

The same goes for "a panicking student" (also an adjective) as opposed to "a student who is panicking." In your sentences, because these are adjectives, the difference between them isn't temporal.

Examples illustrating the use of "panicked"/"panicking" as adjectives in three temporal states:

As the exam date drew nearer, one could observe increasingly panicked students pacing the library stacks late at night. (past)
There's a panicked student in my office. What should I do? (present)
If we decide that the exam is to be cumulative, we'll have many panicked students to deal with.

Panicking spectators rushed out of the hall after hearing gunshots. (past)
Panicking students are filing in for their presentations. (present)
One can expect panicking readers after this morning's headline. (future)

In the sentences you gave, there is virtually no difference between a "panicking" student and a "panicked" student. Perhaps "panicking" gives more immediacy to the state, makes it seem like it's unfolding to the reader, but that's really a matter of interpretation.

May 9, 2019

Panicked- the state is in the past and it is over now
Panicking - the state is still ongoing/happening now

May 8, 2019

There is very little difference.  If I point out a stressed student she will have experienced a stressed situation and will be continuing to feel the effects of that stress.  If I point out a student stressing she also is stressed. 


May 8, 2019
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Jeremy Rondonuwu
Language Skills
English, Indonesian
Learning Language
English