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    #1

    sympathetic to and about

    Dear teachers,

    Could you please kindly explain the difference between "sympathetic to " and "sympathetic about"? For example, in the following sentence can I replace "about" with "to"?

    He suffers from back trouble too, so he was very sympathetic about my problem.

    Looking forward to hearing from you.
    Thank you in advance.

    Jiang

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    #2

    Re: sympathetic to and about

    Quote Originally Posted by jiang View Post
    Dear teachers,

    Could you please kindly explain the difference between "sympathetic to " and "sympathetic about"? For example, in the following sentence can I replace "about" with "to"?

    He suffers from back trouble too, so he was very sympathetic about my problem.

    Looking forward to hearing from you.
    Thank you in advance.

    Jiang
    In Canada, and I believe in America, we generally say sympathetic toward somebody and sympathetic about something. I wouldn't use "toward" (or "to") in your sentence.
    Maybe others have different opinions.

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    #3

    Re: sympathetic to and about

    Hi,

    Could you please kindly explain why you use "toward" or "to" in my sentence since "illness" is "something"?

    Looking forward to hearing from you.
    Thank you in advance.

    Jiang
    Quote Originally Posted by 2006 View Post
    In Canada, and I believe in America, we generally say sympathetic toward somebody and sympathetic about something. I wouldn't use "toward" (or "to") in your sentence.
    Maybe others have different opinions.

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    #4

    Re: sympathetic to and about

    Quote Originally Posted by jiang View Post
    Hi,

    Could you please kindly explain why you use "toward" or "to" in my sentence since "illness" is "something"?

    Looking forward to hearing from you.
    Thank you in advance.

    Jiang
    I said I wouldn't use "toward".


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    #5

    Re: sympathetic to and about

    "sympathetic to" = looking upon with favour (often followed by to or toward[s]):

    She is sympathetic to the project. ["something"]
    She is sympathetic toward[s] the homeless people ["someone/somebody"]

    "Sympathetic about" = sympathy concerning [someone's/a] problem

    She is sympathetic about the difficulties faced by the project to help the homeless.

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    #6

    Re: sympathetic to and about



    Quote Originally Posted by 2006 View Post
    I said I wouldn't use "toward".

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    #7

    Re: sympathetic to and about


    I got different answers.
    Quote Originally Posted by Anglika View Post
    "sympathetic to" = looking upon with favour (often followed by to or toward[s]):

    She is sympathetic to the project. ["something"]
    She is sympathetic toward[s] the homeless people ["someone/somebody"]

    "Sympathetic about" = sympathy concerning [someone's/a] problem

    She is sympathetic about the difficulties faced by the project to help the homeless.

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    #8

    Re: sympathetic to and about

    Quote Originally Posted by jiang View Post

    I got different answers.
    Well, you have to remember that a language and its 'rules/customs' often are not entirely rigid, especially on a worldwide basis. Even so, I think Anglika's and my responses are not far off.

    I did say "generally" in my first post and I still stand by it, but I agree with Anglika's "sympathetic to the project" sentence. (although I would say 'toward')

    Probably it is more acccurate to say that "toward" is used for people and people's ideas, plans, wishes, goals and the like. 'Projects' would fit in here too since they are somethiing that people do.
    Also in a broad context, 'someone' would include animals.

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