Submitted by cathyem  •  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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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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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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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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"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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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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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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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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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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@cathyem

I agree 110% with all that you say.

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

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

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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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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 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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