4

Yesterday, I asked the difference between at and from following the adjective relieved. I was met with a great answer describing the differences between the prepositions following that particular adjective.

I now know this example is grammatically correct:

I was relieved at the news that my grandmother's surgery was successful.

However, I'm still confused as to what the differences between the two are after different adjectives. Consider the following sentences (I don't know if these are correct or not -- I'm only basing them off what sounds the best to my ears):

I became hungry at the smell of the cookies.

I was exhausted from working all day.

I got excited at the sight of her face.

I'm broke from having spent all my money at the bar.

I know there are better ways to word these examples with altogether different prepositions, but I'm trying to understand these particular two.

7

It's basically the same as your other question and its answer.

In all your examples here, at indicates an instantaneous event (not related to anything leading up to that event) had an effect; from indicates that the effect stemmed from an existing or long-standing condition.

I became hungry at the smell of the cookies.
The smell of the cookies reached you and you became hungry (instantaneous).

I was exhausted from working all day.
Working all day is a long-standing condition, not instantaneous.

I got excited at the sight of her face.
You saw her face and in an instant became excited.

The last one is more interesting:

I'm broke from having spent all my money at the bar.

Although you could have spent all your money in one transaction, so that you instantaneously became penniless, the use of the continuous having spent means that the state of penury has continued since that time. Consequently you use from.

You could even make a more ambiguous case with

I'm broke from all the expenditure I incurred.

But the same analysis applies: you incurred all the expenditure, and an hour later you had still incurred all that expenditure. It's not the same as suddenly seeing someone or smelling cookies.

-2

a nit being picked .. your sentence "I got excited at the sight of her face." is not using "got" correctly .. you did not obtain anything in the past from seeing her face ..

a correct sentence could be "I became excited at ... "

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.