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"The noise of the traffic outside all day annoys me." is not good English and "The noise of the traffic outside all day irritates me." is better.
This dictionary explains that "Something unpleasant that happens repeatedly or continuously over a long period of time tends to irritate or frustrate people, especially because they know that they can do nothing to stop it."
I still do not understand the difference between "annoy" and "irritate." Could anyone explain the difference with some sentence examples?
It irritates the eyes to look at the sun.
But: His behaviour annoys me.
In my opinion irritates would also be possible in the last sentence, though.
Another example: As a diplomat, he had to be able to cope with annoying remarks.
Teasing apart a difference between then when they apply to emotions seems more difficult. I'd say that "irritation" might imply a longer period of exposure than "annoyance". This would also tie in the emotional meaning with the physical one as usually physically irritating things often take a while to become noticeable.
I wouldn't want to suggest this as a hard and fast rule though, as there will be times when the two words are truly synonymous.
A small fly trying to land on my eyeball tends to be both, though I doubt he intends to annoy me.
AvangiI should think the speaker ought to choose between them according to whether he is annoyed or irritated by the situation.Avangi, this is a marvelouspiece of advice! - Have one on me!
Anonymous:I agree with you.
I think "irritates" is a stronger emotional exxpression than "annoys". After long being exposed to it, one feels irritated. Being "annoyed" there is still a possibility of the condition being reversed. Eg: After all these years and the tabloids are still "speculating" over the scandal of ......... It is very irritating. Your mouth is full, kindly stop talking and spitting food all over. It is very annoying.
I hope I am right.
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