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    #1

    Usage of prepositions by and of

    There are two sentences:
    Im frightened BY spiders.
    Dont be frightened OF the dog he wont hurt you.
    Why in the first sentence is used the preposition by while in the second one of?

  1. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Usage of prepositions by and of

    You could use "of" or "by" in both cases. There is, however, a subtle change of meaning.
    Every miserable fool who has nothing at all of which he can be proud, adopts as a last resource pride in the nation to which he belongs; he is ready and happy to defend all its faults and follies tooth and nail, thus reimbursing himself for his own inferiority.

    Arthur Schopenhauer

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    #3

    Re: Usage of prepositions by and of

    Your question should be phrased Why is the preposition "by" used in the first sentence while the second uses "of". Other variations are possible.

    I think you could use by or of in either sentence. Google's ngram viewer shows frightened by as far more common than frightened of until the early-to-mid twentieth century. Of has become almost as popular in the last few decades.
    I am not a teacher.

  2. kilroy65's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Usage of prepositions by and of

    Quote Originally Posted by bhaisahab View Post
    You could use "of" or "by" in both cases. There is, however, a subtle change of meaning.
    I think that "frightened by" refers to a sudden fear of something which actually happened:

    "The Bulgarian PM is frightened by the death threat he received yesterday in Parliament."

    People are "frightened of" or "afraid of" something or someone in general.

    "Little kids are frightened of/ afraid of ghosts."

    I don't remember hearing or seeing "afraid by".

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    #5

    Re: Usage of prepositions by and of

    Thanks, that’s what I had in my mind, too.
    About the sentence: "Little kids are frightened of/ afraid of ghosts."
    What is more common: “are frightened” or “are afraid”. Which verb should I recommend my students?

  3. Piscean's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Usage of prepositions by and of

    'Of', for reasons that kilroy has already explained.

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    #7

    Re: Usage of prepositions by and of

    Quote Originally Posted by northpath View Post
    Thanks, that’s what I had in my mind, too.
    About the sentence: "Little kids are frightened of/ afraid of ghosts."
    What is more common: “are frightened” or “are afraid”. Which verb should I recommend to my students?
    Are afraid is more natural. Either option is easily understood.
    I am not a teacher.

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