Submitted by cathyem on November 5, 2011

“enamored with” and “enamored by”

I did a search and came up with nothing relating to the use of “enamored”. I am seeing, more and more often, “enamored with” and “enamored by” when I was taught that it is correctly “enamored of”.

I just opened the latest issue of Cook’s Country magazine and this quote jumped out at me: “[...]Americans became enamored with international cooking.” Is this correct? Am I just a purist who needs to lighten up?

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It's a tricky one. Since it's a French loan-word, and is a very simple adjective, I would say that any rules relating to usual English adjectives should apply, but that the original French context should be considered when forming an opinion of the manner in which the English word may first have been applied.

Try forming a French sentence that conveys the information "I was enamored [of/by/with] a [bicycle/elephant/chair]" and see which makes the most logical sense in its native tongue. If it turns out that "of" works best in French, then it may indicate why "of" was used for so very long in connection with the word, even though "by" and "with" would technically serve equally well.

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Try searching for enamoured, you'll find lots of info:
enamoured or (US) enamored
adj
1 (usually enamoured with someone) formal or literary in love with them.
2 (usually enamoured of something) very fond of it, pleased with it, or enthusiastic about it.

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Looks like the OED accepts of, with, and by:

enamor |iˈnamər| (chiefly Brit. enamour )
verb (be enamored of/with/by)

---
I usually hear with or by ... of sounds a little odd to me but it seems that they're all ok.

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"Of always sounds right to me. I agree with the comment. BTW - just found the site, love it!

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Thank you for your kind responses. I actually should have stated that the search I did was of this site, not a google search, which is why I posed the question here.

I was educated in Catholic schools in the 50s and 60s, and the hickory ruler taught me well! Perfect grammar, spelling, punctuation and syntax was required at all times.

Quite a few "new words" are added to the dictionary each year, some of which I find rather painful. I'm really not trying to sound like a snob, but I also do not want to see the language devolve as it evolves.

There was a time when "of' was the only acceptable preposition to use with "enamored".

I still have the Webster's from my late grammar school years (1959 ed.) and it lists no pronoun at all. I have a Webster's New World, Third Collegiate Edition (1988 ed.) and it lists "of" ONLY... no "with" and no "by". Nowadays, since so many people have used "with" incorrectly, the dictionaries of the internet list "enamored with" as secondary, but also now correct. Nowhere have I seen "enamored by" as correct, thankfully.

@AnWulf, I don't own a copy of the OED, but here's what I found online at grammarphobia.com:
"
The verb “enamor,” according to the Oxford English Dictionary, means “to inspire or inflame with love.”

The adjective “enamored,” the OED says, means “full of the passion of love” or simply “in love.” In a weaker sense, “enamored” can mean charmed or fascinated.

“To be enamored,” the dictionary adds, is “to be in love.” And in this sense, “enamored” isn’t the adjective but a passive form of the verb.

This passive form, the OED says, has historically been used with the prepositions “of,” “on,” “upon,” and “with.”

But constructions using “on” and “upon” are now obsolete. Today, the OED says, we use either “enamored of” or, less commonly, “enamored with.”"

So, I'm not sure where you are quoting from, but OED does not apparently list "by" as a proper preposition with enamored in any internet sources I can find.

I guess it just bothers me that people are becoming more sloppy with the language. If I hear "Bob gave that to John and I" one more time, I swear I'll scream! And the more people use it, the more "correct" it becomes. Soon, "I" will be used for both the nominative case and the objective case and considered a correct, but secondary, use. I am enamored of proper usage!

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Interesting to note, the verb, to enamor, means to inspire or inflame with love. All the sources I've examined say that it's usually used in the passive form, as mentioned above.

Now, think about just what that means. If Jack is enamored of/with/by Jill, that means that Jill is the one doing the enamoring. Jill enamors Jack. Jill is inspiring Jack's love. If Jill is enamoring Jack, then doesn't it make sense that Jack is being enamored BY Jill?

I think a case can be made for any of the three, of, with, or by, with varying degrees of popularity.

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I'm not sure which is correct, but I have always known the use of 'enamored by'. Most likely by reason of porsche's definition. Enamored of sounds really odd to me (but that could just be due to my limited experience).
Colloquially I hear 'enamored by' most often. I don't hear 'enamored with' hardly ever, and I never hear 'enamored of'.

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Ah, porsche...

If Jill enamors Jack, then Jack is enamored OF Jill.

The bastardization of the English language is a velvet slide. I am old enough that I remember when people were proud of the fact that they spoke correctly. Now, even our news media "stars" are becoming part of the problem since they reach a mass audience and when they speak incorrectly, they make it seem legitimate.

The bottom line is that, up until about 1980 or so, "enamored OF" was the ONLY correct usage. Now, people have gotten sloppy with their speech and enamored "with" and "by" are taking over.

It's sad, really, to watch a language devolve.

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@cathyem

I agree 110% with all that you say.

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Why don't people check their facts before spouting such drivel? The simplest Google books search shows that all three forms have been in use since at least the 19th century. M-WDEU records all three, too. The OED gives not only by, with and of but on and upon - with examples going back to the 14th century. These are all verifiable facts of usage, rather than the misinformed opinions of someone who insists on using 'devolve' in a sense that the OED describes as obsolete.

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So sorry you believe it to be "drivel". Did you read my prior posts?

"I don't own a copy of the OED, but here's what I found online at grammarphobia.com:
"
The verb “enamor,” according to the Oxford English Dictionary, means “to inspire or inflame with love.”

The adjective “enamored,” the OED says, means “full of the passion of love” or simply “in love.” In a weaker sense, “enamored” can mean charmed or fascinated.

“To be enamored,” the dictionary adds, is “to be in love.” And in this sense, “enamored” isn’t the adjective but a passive form of the verb.

This passive form, the OED says, has historically been used with the prepositions “of,” “on,” “upon,” and “with.”

But constructions using “on” and “upon” are now obsolete. Today, the OED says, we use either “enamored of” or, less commonly, “enamored with.”"

As I stated, I don't own a copy of the OED, and, when I checked their website, it is by subscription only, with no search feature free to the public. That is why I quoted the source I found on grammarphobia.com.
The OED is but one source. My Webster's New World Dictionary (Third College Edition, 1988) states that "enamored of" is the only correct usage.

M-W.com does NOT record all three:
"en·am·or eden·am·or·ing
Definition of ENAMOR
transitive verb
1
: to inflame with love —usually used in the passive with of
2
: to cause to feel a strong or excessive interest or fascination —usually used in the passive with of or with <baseball fans enamored of statistics>"

As for my use of the word devolve, it is perfectly legitimate and portrays exactly what I feel, therefore is the perfect word to use:

M-W.com de·volved de·volv·ing
Definition of DEVOLVE
transitive verb
: to pass on (as responsibility, rights, or powers) from one person or entity to another <devolving to western Europe full responsibility for its own defense — Christopher Lane>
intransitive verb
1
a : to pass by transmission or succession <the estate devolved on a distant cousin> b : to fall or be passed usually as a responsibility or obligation <the responsibility for breadwinning has devolved increasingly upon women — Barbara Ehrenreich>
2
: to come by or as if by flowing down <his allegedly subversive campaigns…devolve from his belief in basic American rights — Frank Deford>
3
: to degenerate through a gradual change or evolution <where order devolves into chaos — Johns Hopkins Magazine>

I am truly sorry you feel such anger for someone who cherishes the English language and does not want to see it bastardized further.

ebonics, anyone?

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In answer to your question, did I read your prior posts, yes I did. In particular I noted two assertions you made: ‘There was a time when "of' was the only acceptable preposition to use with "enamored",’ and ‘The bottom line is that, up until about 1980 or so, "enamored OF" was the ONLY correct usage.’ Neither of these claims is true – not even on your own evidence.

Just to be clear, I have no objection to your preferring ‘of’ with enamoured/enamored. Claims that using by or with are evidence of a decline (or devolution, as you prefer) in standards of English are, though, unsupportable.

I also noted, incidentally, that you are not above a little unorthodox usage yourself. Many would argue that the sentence: ‘Perfect grammar, spelling, punctuation and syntax was required at all times’ requires a plural verb.

I’m not sure what your Ebonics remark means. My guess is that you believe it to be an inferior form of English. If I am right in that then we are unlikely to have much common ground in a discussion of our complex, beautiful and multi-faceted language.

So, there you have it: making unsupportable assertions, claiming that the language is in decline (whatever that means), and, by default, suggesting that your language choices are superior to those of others, all adds up to drivel in my book.

Nevertheless, as you seem not to like the term, I am happy to rephrase my opening remark: Why don't people check their facts before saying something which is demonstrably untrue?

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"So, there you have it: making unsupportable assertions, claiming that the language is in decline (whatever that means), and, by default, suggesting that your language choices are superior to those of others, all adds up to drivel in my book."

I am glad I do not own a copy of your book.

We will just have to disagree because you don't seem to believe the sources I quoted for you. My assertions are not unsupported, as seen by the quotes I listed.

My "unorthodox usage" was NOT unorthodox, as you well know. It was an error, pure and simple. Thank you for pointing it out. If there was an "edit" feature, I would rectify it. Yes, I am human. I make mistakes, just like you.

As for ebonics, if you DON'T think it's an "inferior form of English", then we obviously have nothing to discuss.

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By the way, people in civilized countries all over the world, every day, are being judged by the way they speak.
For instance, in the USA, the "hillbilly folk" are looked at askance. In London, it's the Cockneys. That was the whole basis of Shaw's "Pygmalion". Eliza needed to learn proper English grammar and pronunciation to pass for the educated upper class.
Why resort to a "language" that makes you sound lower class and uneducated? Why not learn proper English and go further in life?
To paraphrase Mark Twain, it is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are an uneducated fool than to open it and remove all doubt.

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Hairy Scot,
I forgot to thank you for your support. It is appreciated.

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"He was enamoured with the semlynesse." [of an image in the water]. - Lydgate's Fall of Princes, 1475

... I think over 500 years of folks benoting "enamored with" is enuff to say it's ok.

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cathyem, to me that suggests a problem with those judging, not with those who make the English language as varied, fresh, and interesting as it is. The purpose of language is not to worry about perfect usage as decreed by those that have been before us, it is to be expressive, beautiful, and effective at communicating. Being upset by people not using the "correct" proposition after a verb is such a waste of time when you could in fact be considering the elegance of speech in general; this is something that is not diminished by people being willing to relax the rules, but enhanced. Beethoven's symphonies were so great and revolutionary because they did not follow the standard form; in breaking free of the accepted structure and style of a symphony he crafted some of the most magnificent works of mankind throughout history. And it is the same with English.

You could, of course, spend your time attempting to invalidate my opinion by pointing out the numerous errors in my text (I started a sentence with "And". The horror!), but it would be pointless.

I am not saying that I approve of the widespread slips in spelling, basic grammar, and vocabulary that are evident. I am simply saying that you should be more relaxed in your approach to change.

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Happy to read your post finnishing. I, too, wince when I hear "anyways" or "Can you go with her and I?"

Are there any psychologists around? Does that mean I am insecure, inflexible (and I teach tai chi and stretching, ha!)? I wonder how often I miss the glory of the moment by going to the grammar mind.

Thanks for the post.

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Though not a native speaker, I have found the discussion really vibrant and refreshing, a reflection of how the English has become a living and increasingly dominant language globally. More of such discussion, please!

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i think i am enamored of you, miss cathyem. fun chain to read, if 15 months past.

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At the British National Corpus:
enamoured of 50
enamoured with 10
enamoured by 4

http://www.natcorp.ox.ac.uk/

At Netspeak (web based - so international)
enamoured of 61%
enamoured with 22%
enamoured by 6%

enamored with 44%
enamored of 40%
enamored by 8%

http://www.netspeak.org/#query=enamoured+%253F

Which suggests that Brits favo(u)r 'of' while North Americans favo(u)r 'with' (in which case I'm a traitor, as I go for 'with' for people, and 'of' for things)

In books though, 'of' seems to win in both dialects:

https://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=enamored+of%3Aeng_us_2012%2Cenamored+with%3Aeng_us_2012%2Cenamoured+of%3Aeng_gb_2012%2Cenamoured+with%3Aeng_gb_2012&year_start=1800&year_end=2000&corpus=15&smoothing=3&share=&direct_url=t1%3B%2Cenamored%20of%3Aeng_us_2012%3B%2Cc0%3B.t1%3B%2Cenamored%20with%3Aeng_us_2012%3B%2Cc0%3B.t1%3B%2Cenamoured%20of%3Aeng_gb_2012%3B%2Cc0%3B.t1%3B%2Cenamoured%20with%3Aeng_gb_2012%3B%2Cc0

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I think we need auto-linking for https addresses!

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Hats off to cathyem for asking the question - I had the same one and I'm now much the wiser!

Found cathyem's comment curious: "Perfect grammar, spelling, punctuation and syntax was required at all times. "
'was' should surely be 'were'! Intentionally ironic?

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Perhaps "Perfect grammar, spelling, punctuation and syntax was required at all times" is not ungrammatical, your honour, if it can be regarded as an example of ellipsis, with the subject being "Attention to": 'Attention to perfect grammar, spelling, punctuation and syntax was required at all times.' So the singular 'attention' is the subject of the consequently singular verb 'was'. Indeed, attention to/adherence to/respect for are but a sample of the cloud of ideas 'understood' without being stated, thus ellipsis.The subject, being understood, was omitted in the interests of brevity and concision, unlike this argument. That is why, subliminally, 'was' in place of 'were' did its job in this statement rather better than 'were' would have done. I rest my case, your honour.

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@Brus,

I disagree. I do not believe an ellipsis is implied at all. If we compare your correction (A) with the original (amended) (B), the meanings are slightly different:

(A) "Attention to perfect grammar, spelling, punctuation and syntax was required at all times."

To me, it would seem as though they (he or she, if you prefer) are to be aware of perfect grammar in others' writing. I think it has something to do with 'perfect' here. Amended, it would work seamlessly (contextually of course):

(A2) "Attention to grammar, spelling, punctuation and syntax was required at all times."

A prepositional phrase headed by 'by' would work wonders as well. Now, on to B.

(B) "Perfect grammar (w), spelling (x), punctuation (y) and syntax (z) were required at all times."

This easily means that wxyz were required of each individual. The ellipsis that you provided here blears, only minimally, the meaning because being attentive to perfect grammar and having perfect grammar are slightly different.

Admittedly, this may have taken a bit of a literalist view...

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Okay, how about: "Observation of the need for perfect grammar, spelling, punctuation ... was required ..."
After all, the point about using ellipsis is that the words left out but understood are indeed left out, and those who wish to put them in must choose which ones to put in. (Is that a bit like Donald Rumsfeld's unknown unknowns ..? )
And don't try to tell me that the observation in question means watching others do it! It means of course doing it yourself, like observing the law.
I sense the ghost of Cathyem's teacher with that ruler for the knuckles lurking nearby, so I'm going out now.

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Wondering about my usage of "enamored" in a manuscript, I decided to search on the Internet to see whether I had used it properly. I used "enamored by," which is the way I would normally say it (reared in the southern states of the US) and the way I most commonly hear it. After reading this thread, I still liked "enamored by," but decided I would do one more search. Check out this link: http://public.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/enamored.html It actually made me giggle, and it was quite effective on getting the point across. I have now changed my manuscript to "enamored of."

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How about the idea that 'enamoured with' means 'fallen in love with', whereas 'enamoured by' suggests you are the object of someone else's falling in love with you.

"I am enamoured with the idea of selling up and moving to Tahiti to live the high life there." That's good.

I am enamoured by a fine Tahitian tahini. (Assuming that's a Tahitian lady but maybe it's a kind of Italian bread.)

I don't like 'enamoured by'. 'I am the enamoured of a Tahitian maiden', where enamoured is a noun, that's fine. So is Tahiti, but I found it very expensive.

Your manuscript demands "enamoured with".

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I am very interested in a particular woman. The word that describes my emotion for her is "enamored". I, too, am unsure about context. My Google search string that took me here was |"enamored with" and "enamored by"|.

If I confess to her this emotion my first instinct is to say: "I am enamored by you".

How would you like to hear it from an admirer?

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Why is it essential to use either of/ with/on at all ? Why not simply enamored, as it simply means in love with. Either enamored ( U.S. ) or my preferred enamoured (English). The USA has done enough to destroy our wonderful language already.
I also just read - gotten - in one of your replies; disgusting word, derived from Germany via the USA .

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@Patricia Davies - gotten is a very old English word, and is listed as the past participle of get in Johnson's Dictionary of 1755. Its use by Americans has nothing to do with German. They kept it when British English dropped it in the 18th century, that's all. But let's not let a little fact like that get in the way of your prejudice. And I'm British, by the way.

http://johnsonsdictionaryonline.com/?page_id=70...

"And I say no more, but that (they say) is not gotten without consent of both sides" - Sir Philip Sidney - The Countesse of Pembrokes Arcadia - 1590

"When thou wer't King: who trauelling towards Yorke,
With much adoo, at length haue gotten leaue
To looke vpon my (sometimes Royall) masters face." - William Shakespeare - Richard II, First Folio 1623

Not to mention 17 instances in "The Workes of Sir Thomas More Knyght" 1557.

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I do remember the teacher in primary school (England 1950's) forbidding us to use the word 'get' in writing because it was a "horrible" word. Given that kind of indoctrination it is not surprising if some people retain a less-than-empirical outlook on word choices.
BTW in Murphy's grammar book 'gotten' is simply marked as "American", so again it is hardly surprising if people think that is the end of the story. I certainly did for many years.

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Murphy also notes the well-known Americanism: sentences like:
"Did you finish your homework yet?"
Is this too an example of something borrowed from some earlier form of English?

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@jayles - Of course I agree that 'gotten' is now American usage, but a lot of words and expressions thought to be American are of British origin. For example I've written on my blog about tidbit, which was the original form of the word in England, and only changed to titbit in Britain around the end of the eighteenth century. Fall (for Autumn) also apparently originated in England. And even the spellings 'theater' and 'center' seem to have been more popular than their -re equivalents in Elizabethan England, especially in Shakespeare.

Conversely, some of the expressions and idioms we use every day without thinking about originated in America, yet we never think of them as Americanisms.

I tend not to use Americanisms myself (which is standard style practice in British newspapers), and I quite understand why Americans might equally want to avoid Britishisms. But we need to be very careful before labelling things as Americanisms, especially, as many are simpler older forms of English. We all like what we are used to of course, but what I have absolutely no time for is people on either side of the Atlantic who think their form of the language is somehow superior to the other.

I think you'll also find that Murphy talks of American English rather than Americanisms, just like the OALD lists gotten as North American usage. For me an Americanism tends to mean something of American origin that has been adopted into British (or other) English, just as Britishism is often used to indicate something of British origin being used by some Americans (Downton Abbey and Harry Potter have a lot to answer for, apparently).

As for your second comment, I think the answer may lie elsewhere. It seems that Old English had a perfect construction with habben, but its use was very limited. Its modern uses really started in Middle English. Shakespeare and The King James Bible, both published just as the first settlers were setting out to America, are full of present perfect:

Shakespeare First Folio:

Thou hast howl'd away twelue winters
hast thou forgot the fowle Witch Sycorax?

KJV

Behold, to me thou hast given no seed
And they said, So do, as thou hast said.

I've always assumed that past simple is often used in American English where we would use present perfect, because of the influence of other languages, for example Yiddish. However I think I've read somewhere that the use of present perfect in Britain is still increasing, so it well could be that we use it rather more these days than a couple of hundred years ago.

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I've seen it suggested that the past-simple<-present-perfect substitution is colloquial, non-formal and more common among 'less-educated' Americans.

The following ngram suggests that "have you ever" is twice as common as "did you ever" in US writing:
did you ever:eng_gb_2012,did you ever:eng_us_2012,have you ever:eng_gb_2012,have you ever:eng_us_2012

This ngram suggests that in US writing "did you forget already" is much much less common than have...
Did you forget already:eng_gb_2012,Did you forget already:eng_us_,Have you forgotten already:eng_gb_2012,Have you forgotten already:eng_us_2012,Have you forgot already

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@jayles - I would agree that 'Did you forget already' is more likely to be found in spoken language, but that doesn't necessarily make it a sign of being less educated.

For example, try doing an Ngram of 'I have a new' and I've got a new' in British English books, and not surprisingly 'I have' is commoner than 'I've got a new'. But that's in books. 'I've got a new' is likely to be used rather more frequently in spoken language, and certainly has nothing to do with being less educated.

http://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=I+...

This is from Lynne Guist's Separated by a Common Language:

'There is nothing unAmerican about the present perfect. We can and do use it in the ways that the British do. We just aren't restricted to it. There is something unBritish about using the preterit with certain temporal adverbs in particular and perhaps also more generally to refer to recent-and-still-relevant events. The difference between Did you eat yet? and Have you eaten already? is, in AmE, mostly a difference of formality, possibly also of emphasis. '

She quotes two sources as giving a ratio of present perfect in BrE in relation to AmE as 4:3 and 1.7:1. In one study 'Virginia Gathercole (1986) looked at Scottish and American adults' use of present perfect in speaking with young children and the acquisition of the present perfect by the children. She concluded that "Scottish adults use the present perfect construction in their speech to children much more frequently than American adults do" and "Scottish children use the present perfect construction in their speech long before their American counterparts." '

http://separatedbyacommonlanguage.blogspot.com/...

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Warsaw Will, you mention the ratio of present perfect in BrE in relation to AmE as 4:3 and 1.7:1.. My calculations suggest that the difference is not huge: it is the same as 4:3 and 5.1:3, or 40:30 against 51:30, so about 21%, which in linguistics is a bit of a sideways dive but not hugely significant except for curiosity value. Now wait till the Scots vote for independence in September: judging by the quality of English already employed in the debating chamber of the Scots Assembly there will be linguistic mayhem when we northerners go free! The expression "all over the place" will be rendered an understatement.

I, for myself, avoid the present perfect construction in relating my own stories, but I notice that in Scotland it is very common now for folk to tell theirs in the present tense. For example "Well, I'm sitting in the train when I notice that my child isn't with me, and I'm sure I've brought him with me that day. Then I see him ... "

All part of the delightful argot which keeps the wheels going round.

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