I would like to now if I am using the prepositions correctly:

"She was not pleased with her job and was tired of doing the same thing every day, but everybody was surprised at her attitude"

I always confuse them.

  • I am sure about the tired of. Tired of is correctly used here. – hellodear Jan 31 '14 at 13:26
  • It is the sort of thing you can easily verify on your own when you have access to a computer. Pleased with. Tired of. Surprised at. "Surprised" can be followed by different prepositions but your sentence is perfectly correct. – None Jan 31 '14 at 13:35
  • Correct: "think" to "thing" – JMB Jan 31 '14 at 14:55

"Pleased with" and "tired of" are unambiguously correct.

"Surprised at" is also correct, but in American English it sounds a little clunky. In a sentence like yours above, I would usually choose "by": "...but everybody was surprised by her attitude."

One weird quirk with the word "surprised" is the change in meaning when the object of the preposition is a person. Consider:

Julie was surprised by Samantha.

This indicates that Samantha surprised Julie on purpose somehow, like by hiding behind the curtains for a surprise party, or sending her an unexpected gift.

Julie was surprised at Samantha.

This indicates that Samantha behaved in a way that Julie hadn't anticipated. Samantha wasn't behaving with Julie in mind; she just acted, but her behavior surprised Julie.

That is just a weird distinction with people, though. For the most part, you can use "at" and "by" interchangeably with "surprised" and people will get your meaning without much trouble.

  • 1
    They have a kind of from/to, by/at, yin/yang relation, though not to be taken absolutely so. Yin: "I was warmed by her kind words." Yang: "I was angry at her." and "She threw the ball at Julie." So "surprised by" has a kind of receiving connotation while "surprised at" has a kind of sharper, outwardly directed connotation. – CoolHandLouis Feb 1 '14 at 20:23

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