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Thread: at vs. by

  1. #1
    Clark is offline Key Member
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    Default at vs. by

    We need help on the earlier post related to the choice of prepositions with the word 'surprised'. As is known, 'surprised' can be followed both by 'at' and 'by'. We are trying to work out a rule that would state clearly what factors motivate the use of either of these prepositions.

    You would do us a great favour if you made up a few sentences where only one of the two prepositions could be used.

  2. #2
    beascarpetta's Avatar
    beascarpetta is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: at vs. by

    Quote Originally Posted by Clark View Post
    You would do us a great favour if you made up a few sentences where only one of the two prepositions could be used.
    just off the cuff

    I'm surprised at you, behaving like that in front of the kids.

    He was surprised at how quickly she agreed.

    We were very surprised at the result.

    It's not like you to behave like this, Clark - I'm surprised at you !

    He seemed surprised by the question.

    hope this helps.

  3. #3
    Clark is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: at vs. by

    Quote Originally Posted by beascarpetta View Post
    just off the cuff

    I'm surprised at you, behaving like that in front of the kids.

    He was surprised at how quickly she agreed.

    We were very surprised at the result.

    It's not like you to behave like this, Clark - I'm surprised at you !

    He seemed surprised by the question.

    hope this helps.
    Thanks Bea,

    Could you verify these sentences, please?

    (1) I was surprised by him ... (could you finish the sentence if it is possible)

    (2) He was surprised by her quick consent. (Is it grammatically correct?)

    (3) We were surprised by seeing him at the office. (Is it grammatically correct?)

    (4) He was surprised by/at the fact that she agreed so fast. (Which one is correct?)

    (5) We were surprised by/at his arrival. We hadn't expected him at all.
    (Whch one is good?)

    (6) We were surprised by/at his early arrival. We had expected him later.
    (Which one is good?)

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