If your 13-year-old son’s room is a total mess, is he disorganized? Or is he an unorganized person? Most people think these words are synonyms and use them interchangeably. But this is NOT the case. Disorganized and unorganized are different words with different meanings. In this post, we’ll teach you how to choose between disorganized or unorganized correctly.
Which Is Correct: Disorganized or Unorganized
Word choice is an important part of proper grammar. Many writers get tripped up when trying to choose between “disorganized and unorganized”, just like they do when choosing between bear with me or bare with me. This is totally understandable. Aside from their negative prefixes, both words are spelled identically. However, these words have similar meanings & the same part of speech in the English language but there are some subtle differences.
- Disorganized – An adjective that means having become a mess. It is often used to describe someone who is messy or cluttered.
- Unorganized – Also an adjective that describes a noun that is messy or in disarray. This refers to nouns that have never been organized to start with.
Takeaway: The two words disorganized & unorganized have related meanings. However, disorganized refers to someone that was once orderly. Unorganized refers to someone that was never organized to begin with.
How To Use Disorganized
The word “Disorganized” is an adjective that describes something that has become a mess. Usually, we describe someone who is messy or cluttered.
Disorganized means the person or thing was once orderly & organized.
Just about anything can be considered disorganized.
- Physical spaces
- A person’s habits or behavior
There are people who thrive in the chaos of being disorganized. However, for most people being badly organized is a recipe for disaster.
How To Use Unorganized
The word “Unorganized” means something that is messy or in disarray. It can also describe a person who is not good at keeping track of things or who is always losing things. Understanding how to use the prefix -Un is one of the most basic spelling rules in the English language.
An unorganized person was never organized in the first place.
When something is unorganized, it can be difficult to find what you’re looking for. An unorganized person may have a hard time keeping track of:
- Important dates
Just like we saw when comparing commonly confused words like hobo vs vagrant, spelling can completely change the meaning of a word. Pay close attention to your vocabulary!
Sentence Examples – Unorganized
- I’m sorry but we can’t be partners. There is no way I can work with unorganized people and still pass this class.
- Sorry, I can’t find my keys anywhere – I must be having an unorganized day.
- Sorry, I can’t hire you because unorganized workers can never meet scheduled deadlines.
- Some people are born unorganized, there life is simply messy.
- My friend Mark’s house is so unorganized that I can never find anything.
Sentence Examples – Disorganized
- I’m feeling disorganized today – I can’t find my keys anywhere!
- The office was left disorganized after the party last night.
- Disorganized people are always late for everything.
- I can’t work in this disorganized mess!
- The disorganized chaos of the universe is mesmerizing.
These words are so similar & commonly confused that it can be tough to distinguish correctly. In fact, the main difference is their prefixes.
“UN-” refers to something that is lacking or was never there. If you can remember that, you know to use unorganized when referring to something that was never organized to start with.
Prefix Comparison: “UN-” vs. “DIS-”
Here is a comparison of the prefixes used in the words disorganized vs organized.
- “UN-“: Means lacking quality. No it does not stand for the United Nations!
- “DIS-“: The word “dis” on its own is slang for disrespect. However, the prefix dis literally means “none”.
“Unorganized” is grammatically correct to use in your writing. It is used to refer to something that is a mess, which was never tidy to start with. Rooms & people are most frequently referred to as being “unorganized”.
A disorganized person is someone who has a lot of trouble getting things done in a timely and efficient manner. They may have difficulty planning and prioritizing, and may be forgetful or easily distracted. This can often result in them feeling overwhelmed and stressed out.
There are many differences between unorganized and organized, but one of the most significant is that an organized person has the ability to plan and think ahead. They understand the importance of having a system and of being prepared for whatever might happen.
Unsystematic, chaotic, and disordered are all great synonyms for “unorganized”.
“Disorderly” is a good word to use in place of disorganzied.
There can be many causes of being disorganized, but some of the most common ones include having a lot of things to keep track of, feeling overwhelmed and stressed, procrastination, and perfectionism.
The Bottom Line
Now you know the difference between unorganized and disorganized. These two adjectives are very similar but are used in different situations. A person who was once tidy but is no longer orderly would be called disorganized. However, a person that was never tidy would be called unorganized. Use these tips to improve your writing style! If you can’t remember these rules then try our FREE Spell Checker.