English Grammar Lessons

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Disinterested means impartial.
Uninterested means not interested.

There is often confusion over the words 'disinterested' and 'uninterested'.


Disinterested means 'not taking sides' or 'impartial'. It denotes that there is no personal interest or benefit at stake.

We are struggling to identify twelve disinterested people for the jury.
(twelve impartial people; i.e., with no personal interest)

An investigation into the penalty decision has reportedly uncovered that the referee was not disinterested in the outcome of the match.
(the referee had a personal interest in one particular side winning)

Most of the spectators at the football match were disinterested. (possibly )
(This is only correct provided the writer means that most the spectators did not support one side or the other. The match may have been very interesting.)


Uninterested means 'not interested'.  It is the consequence of something being uninteresting (i.e., boring, uneventful or arousing no interest).

Paul, I am quickly becoming uninterested in your ideas.
(Paul's ideas arouse no interest.)

I used to collect stamps, but I am uninterested these days.
(not interested / find it boring)
Select the correct version:


This sentence may help you to remember that 'disinterested' means 'impartial':

Do not disrespect the referee. He is disinterested.

impartial/disinterested referee
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Easily confused words

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