Awkward or Embarrassing. Whatโ€™s the difference?


When awkward is used as an adjective it describes somebody that lacks skill or ability but when embarrassing is used it describes an incident or event that can be difficult for a person to deal with or make the person feel ashamed.
For example:

  • The young boy was awkward playing the piano for the first time.
  • The fundraiser was embarrassing for the organisers as only twenty people showed up to the event.

A person can feel awkward in an embarrassing situation.
For example, the daughter felt awkward when her father gave her a hug in front of all her friends. It was a very embarrassing situation for her.
The daughter felt embarrassed and mortified because of her fatherโ€™s actions.
Situations are not the only things that can be described as embarrassing, people can also be described as embarrassing. The girl probably thought her dad was embarrassing as he made her feel humiliated or ashamed in front of her friends.
Below are some more examples of how the two adjectives can be used:

  • The driver found it very awkward parking his car in the tight car park.
  • Sarah felt very awkward meeting her partners ex-girlfriend.
  • The failure of the family business was an awkward situation for everybody involved.
  • Everybody knew the manager was very drunk, it was extremely embarrassing for the company.
  • The womanโ€™s secret would be too embarrassing to reveal, even to the people closest to her.
  • The embarrassing parent thought it would be funny to surprise her teenage daughter at her first disco. It wasnโ€™t funny, it was very awkward and embarrassing for her daughter.
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