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PTE Success – Interesting English #83 – Unorganised or Disorganised

When it comes to PTE success, Sahasriya leads the way. In Bengaluru or Chennai-Velachery and Porur or Coimbatore, the best success rate destination always ends up at Sahasriya. Thats why Sahasriya provides value to students through its Interesting English series too. Everyday’s note on important aspects of English language is a standing example for PTE success.  Today, it is about ‘Unorganised’ and ‘Disorganised’.

Do disorganised and unorganised mean the same thing?

After all, how many different words do we need to describe something which is not organised? If you have ever lived or worked with someone who does not put a high value on cleanliness, you know that there are many different types of messes. Consequently, English has many different words to describe messiness.

Many writers aren’t sure of the difference between the words disorganised and unorganised. They are related in meaning, but have subtle differences that are important to remember.

Continue reading to find out whether something is unorganised or disorganised.

When to Use Disorganised

PTE success unorganisedWhat does disorganized mean? Disorganised is an adjective. It means having fallen into disarray.

You can think of disorganised as describing something that was once organised, but now is not.

Adjectives modify nouns. The adjective ugly, for instance, is often used to modify the noun sweater, particularly in the context of trendy holiday parties. Disorganised can also describe a number of different nouns.

For example,

  • The program coordinator cleans his office every Friday, but by the next Wednesday, it is back to being a disorganised mess.
  • After a series of defeats in the yearly elections, the party’s leadership was accused of being disorganised and ineffective.
When to Use Unorganized

PTE success disorganisedWhat does unorganised mean? Unorganised is also an adjective. It describes something which is not arranged in any specific way, or more simply messy.

  • The customs revenue, in its form of high protection, has always had against it a strong free trade sentiment, generally unorganised, and this seems to be growing.

If disorganised refers to something that used to be orderly, but not anymore, unorganised refers to something that had never been orderly in the first place. The garbage in a dumpster, for instance, is unorganised, because it had never existed in a state of organisation.

If someone had meticulously arranged the garbage so as to most efficiently use the available space, but then a mouse got in and made a mess of everything, the garbage could be said to be disorganised, because it was once orderly, but now it is not.

Trick to Remember the Difference

PTE success disorganised unorganisedNow, let’s go over a helpful memory trick to remember disorganized vs. unorganized.

These adjectives are confusing since only their prefixes are different. Fortunately, those prefixes also provide us a clue about their meanings.

Disorganised shares its prefix dis- with other words that mean no longer orderly, like the adjective disheveled and the noun disarray.

By remembering the similarities between these words with related meanings, you should always be able to remember that disorganised means no longer orderly.


Is it disorganised or unorganised? Disorganised and unorganised are both adjectives that refer to states of messiness.

If something is disorganised, it used to be organized, but it isn’t anymore.

Think of the office of someone who lets work pile up over the course of the week.

In contrast, if something is unorganised, it was never organized in the first place, like the garbage in a dumpster.

To summarise,

  • Something that is disorganised was once organised.
  • Something that is unorganised was never organised.

PTE success is an effort by Sahasriya to ensure that our students, present and past are well learned on the nuances of improving their language constantly. These vital tips for PTE success has ensured that over 2500 students of Sahasriya have not only cracked IELTS & PTE  with ease but also continue their loyalty and learning with Sahasriya everyday.

About Govind Desikan

AvatarGovind, a master of English language has taken to sharing his experience on English language and focus specifically on finer inputs on English language, IELTS and PTE exams through his posts here.

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