Thursday, January 2, 2014

Enamoured by or enamoured of?

The first difference you encounter is whether to use the American spelling enamored or the British enamoured. As a Canadian, I follow British spelling mostly except for aluminum.(BR: aluminium). When I encounter such a word, I always make sure my students know of both spellings.

This is an interesting post from Daily Writing Tips:

 A reader is troubled by the use of enamored by instead of enamored of. (British enamoured). 

It may be because I read a lot of British literature, but the only usage with enamored that sounds “right” to me is “enamored of,” as in Titania’s remark when waking from the spell in A Midsummer Night’s Dream: “Me thought I was enamoured of an Asse.”

However, another preposition is acceptable with enamored, but it’s not by; it’s with. Merriam-Webster gives these examples:

tourists were enamored of the town
a beautiful Indian girl with whom he was enamored–Walter Havighurst
The verb enamor may be used transitively, as in “Rosamond Vincy enamored Dr. Lydgate.” That means that she affected him in such a way as to make him fall in love with her. More usually, enamor is cast in the passive: “Dr. Lydgate was enamored of Rosamond Vincy.” Here, the meaning is that he was inflamed with love for her.

Paul Brians, an English professor at Washington State University offers this helpful mnemonic:

If you’re crazy about ferrets, you’re enamored of them. It is less common but still acceptable to say “enamored with”; but if you say you are enamored by ferrets, you’re saying that ferrets are crazy about you.
I’ll offer my own view as to how one might choose between of and with to use with this verb:

Use “enamored of” when speaking of romantic love: “Marc Antony was enamored of Cleopatra.”

Use “enamored with” when speaking of mere fascination or interest: “Charlie is enamored with his new iPad.” 

As for “enamored by,” remember the ferrets.


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