Is this sentence correct:

I was taken aback on seeing my result card

Is it right? If not, then how should I put this idiom in such kind of sentence?

  • 2
    Your example is a perfect use of this expression in its usual sense of surprised and confused. Commented Oct 19, 2016 at 21:59
  • I would slightly favor the preposition at instead of on.
    – Robusto
    Commented Oct 20, 2016 at 0:44

1 Answer 1


Yes, this is perfectly correct (although in the U.S. we usually refer to it as a report card and not a result card).

Some other examples:

I was taken aback to learn who they were going to vote for in the election.

They were taken aback to see Michael wearing white after Labor Day.

Michael was taken aback on hearing that they're going to reboot the "Spiderman" movies yet again.

  • Is by also a common usage before gerund? I mean does I was taken aback by seeing my report card sound off?
    – Yuri
    Commented Oct 20, 2016 at 9:41
  • 1
    I would just say "I was taken aback by my report card". Otherwise "on" sounds better with the gerund. "I was taken aback on seeing my report card," "I was taken aback on finding out the bad news," etc.
    – Andrew
    Commented Oct 20, 2016 at 15:53
  • You could reorganize the sentence as well and it would be just as impactful while retaining the idiom. For example, "Upon seeing my result card, I was taken aback." Granted, it makes the original statement a bit more dramatic.
    – AnonyTech
    Commented Oct 23, 2018 at 15:57

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