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Calling all pedants!!! Your help please

(21 Posts)
strawberry Thu 12-Jul-07 11:03:57

I'm writing an article about women who are not satisfied with their current contraception.

So are they UNsatisfied or DISsatisfied and does it really matter?

I have used one version but it keeps coming back from the agency changed to the other! Over to you...

missgriss Thu 12-Jul-07 11:05:50

I would say it's unsatisfactory, but dissatisfied. I could be wrong though....

hatwoman Thu 12-Jul-07 11:07:17

agree with missgriss

HarrywillNOTfuckingdie Thu 12-Jul-07 11:08:01

yy to missgriss

strawberry Thu 12-Jul-07 11:13:17

Thank you. I have been using dissatsfied although both are in the OED.

hatwoman Thu 12-Jul-07 11:13:26

thinking about it I think either is ok. But I think they are generally used in slightly different ways. I think you are unsatisfied with regard to wishes/desires. it is these wishes that are not satisfied. But I think you are dissatisfied with regard to products. The product failed to satisfy your wishes. But they are so close I'm really not sure and I think they are more or less used interchangeably

butterbeer Thu 12-Jul-07 11:16:31

Kenneth G. Wilson (1923–). The Columbia Guide to Standard American English. 1993.

[OK, not British English, but I think the same applies]

dissatisfied, unsatisfied (adjs.)

These two are synonyms in the sense "not satisfied," but they differ in other ways.

Dissatisfied means "displeased, discontented, or not satisfied" and usually describes people or other animals:
We were dissatisfied with our rooms.
The dog seemed dissatisfied when confined to the tiny run.

Unsatisfied means "not satisfied, not fulfilled, or left undone" and modifies conditions, needs, and other inanimate matters:
The appetites of the hungry hikers were left unsatisfied
An unsatisfied requirement in science prevented her graduation

It also modifies persons, where it suggests that their needs are not fully met.

hatwoman Thu 12-Jul-07 11:18:23

sounds like what I was getting at. good

strawberry Thu 12-Jul-07 11:26:49

So given that the women are not satisfied then it's dissatisfied. Although it's the women's needs that are unsatisfied.

It's in the title so important to get it right.

Butterbear - "It also modifies persons, where it suggests that their needs are not fully met" makes me think that unsatisfied may also be acceptable.

strawberry Thu 12-Jul-07 11:29:16

apostrophe error

butterbeer Thu 12-Jul-07 11:42:43

Yes, I think that their expectations of their contraception are unsatisfied, while they themselves are dissatisfied.

Some other online sources don't have that tagged-on part, so I think that "dissatisfied" is much the better choice.

Butterbeertroot Thu 12-Jul-07 11:44:39

strawberry Thu 12-Jul-07 11:45:13

Thank you BB

Quiddaitch Thu 12-Jul-07 11:47:07


aloha Thu 12-Jul-07 11:48:08

I would also use unhappy - esp in a headline.

or something else eg 80% of women want more choice in contraception

butterbeer Thu 12-Jul-07 13:24:15

Yes, setting the pedantry point aside for a moment (although there is always time for more pedantry) I agree with aloha.

MycroftH Thu 12-Jul-07 13:26:48

dissatisfied is a more British term, the other is largely American.

AttilaTheMum Thu 12-Jul-07 13:30:11

I would use unsatisfied if nothing had happened and dissatisfied if something had happened that I was not happy with - so they are dissatisfied with the contraception they have used (because they have used it) but their needs are unsatisfied (becuase nothing has happened as far as their needs are concerned)

OK, that sounds crap, but I can't think of any way of putting it better...

Quiddaitch Thu 12-Jul-07 14:00:01

you really can't use either in a headline, seriously. it distracts from the point rather than makes people think 'oh really? i must read that'.

strawberry Thu 12-Jul-07 16:45:48

To clarify, the working title from the client is "Unsatisfied COC users" which I changed to dissatisfied. This seems to be the consensus. Then various references in article to satisfaction levels. The article is for GPs. Still thinking about actual title but definitely need soemthing more catchy!

Bink Thu 12-Jul-07 16:53:28

Think if it's for GPs title is fine (using "Dissatisfied"). Dissatisfied is better, as the connotation is quite an active negative feeling - "I really do not like this contraception and I need a better option" - as opposed to unsatisfied, which is more "this contraception could be doing a bit more for me"

And "unsatisfied" is of course to do with unfulfilled appetites, which has a faintly infelicitous double-entrendy air when used about contraception.

So there you are.

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