Impatient or Inpatient?

What Is the Difference between "Impatient" and "Inpatient"?

homesitemapA-Z confused words impatient or inpatient?
"Impatient" and "inpatient" are easy to confuse because they sound so similar. However, their meanings are quite different.
  • "Impatient" describes someone who cannot wait for anything without becoming irritated.
    • The clowns will be on soon. Don't be impatient! correct tick
  • "Inpatient" refers to someone residing at the hospital awaiting care or a procedure.
    • The treatment takes three days. You will be treated as an inpatient. correct tick
impatient or inpatient?

More about "Impatient" and "Inpatient"

In English, there is often confusion over the spelling of the adjective "impatient." More specifically, some writers are unsure whether the prefix should be "im" or "in." This situation arises because "inpatient" is also a word.

More about "Impatient"

The adjective "impatient" is the opposite of "patient" (its antonym). "Impatient" means having a lack of patience. It describes a person who becomes restless or easily annoyed by simple mistakes or having to wait.

The noun form is "impatience."

Of note, the prefix "im" is a way of forming a word's antonym (i.e., its opposite). Confusion arises because adding the prefix "in" is a much more common way of forming an antonym (e.g., invalid, independent, insane).

Luckily, there are rules about forming these prefixes.
  • In- becomes im- before p, b, and m.
  • (For example: important, immature, and imbalanced)
  • In- becomes becomes ir- before r.
  • (For example: irrespective, irresponsible)
  • In- becomes becomes il- before l.
  • (For example: illegible, illegal)
Examples in sentences:
  • When someone is impatient and says, 'I haven't got all day,' I always wonder, 'How can that be? How can you not have all day?' (Comedian George Carlin) correct tick
  • Patience is the art of concealing your impatience. (Author Guy Kawasaki) correct tick
  • (Here, "impatient" is in its noun form.)

More about "Inpatient"

"An inpatient" is a noun. It refers to a patient who resides in hospital while under treatment. The opposite of "inpatient" is "outpatient."

"Inpatient" can also be an adjective in the following terms:
  • inpatient unit
  • inpatient care
  • inpatient ward
  • inpatient treatment
To avoid confusion with the adjective "impatient," "inpatient" is sometimes hyphenated (i.e., "in-patient").

Examples in sentences:
  • If you need to stay at the hospital overnight, it means you're being treated as an inpatient. correct tick
  • Many alcoholics require inpatient treatment for life-long, severe drinking problems. correct tick
  • (Here, "inpatient" is an adjective.)
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This page was written by Craig Shrives.

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