I'm not a native English speaker. In our nation it is very difficult to understand meaning of 'of'.

It's easy to understand : noun of noun ex) a friend of mine, a tire of the car

but this is very difficult : adjective of noun, verb A of noun

1 He is proud of his son. why does this sentence has 'of' instead of 'from'? for me 'He is proud from his son' is more natural.

2 She should convince him of his mistake. why does this sentence has 'of' instead of 'about'? 'She should convince him about his mistake' is more natural to me.

Could you please teach me about nuance of 'of'?

  • 2
    For verbs it's "simply" a matter of memorizing which verbs need it. You'll need to know that it's "convince <somebody> of <something>". I'd treat this as a question of vocabulary (a database) not of grammar (rules). Feb 22, 2014 at 20:05

2 Answers 2


Prepositions are very difficult in every language that I know. Each construction with a preposition conveys a different nuance; but what nuance a particular preposition conveys is wholly unpredictable. It varies with every word.

For instance, we say

I am proud of my son.
I am ashamed of my son.
I feel pride in my son.
I feel shame for my son.
I am disappointed in my son.
I am fond of my son.
I am indifferent toward my son.
I am amused at my son.

Sometimes there are historical reasons for a particular usage, but only a tiny number of professional scholars know those reasons. People use a particular pronoun only because that is the pronoun which they hear and read and not for any logical reason.

So there is no way to teach the "nuance of of". A collocation, X of, expresses a particular nuance, but it has nothing to do with the nuance expressed by Y of. There is no shortcut: you just have to learn each individual expression.

  • You can also say "I am happy for my son" and "I am delighted with my son's exam results"
    – Mari-Lou A
    Feb 23, 2014 at 2:28
  • @Mari-LouA Yes; but "I feel delight at his exam results". (Occasionally.) Feb 23, 2014 at 2:34
  • I fee delight at and I am delighted with maybe the first is more common in AmEng? It sounds very formal though. Interesting, it's not something I would normally say myself, perhaps it's too posh for me :)
    – Mari-Lou A
    Feb 23, 2014 at 2:40
  • @Mari-LouA It's not common/colloquial, but not rare/formal either. Literary, perhaps. Feb 23, 2014 at 2:45
  • I'm disappointed by my son? Is that correct as well?
    – Maulik V
    Feb 24, 2014 at 5:54

1 He is proud of his son. why does this sentence has 'of' instead of 'from'? for me 'He is proud from his son' is more natural.

"He is proud from his son" would be unnatural and absurd, as "from" is always connected with the idea of movement from a point: - I come from Italy/ I am from Italy (indicating origin)

You have to accept that English has been using "proud of someone/something" for hundreds of years and I would not try to teach the English people how to speak and make suggestions with prepositions you understand in the wrong way.

The same is true for your sentence no. 2. Accept that the verb construction is to convince someone of something and don't try to make English better.


In one point you are right. The use of "of" after proud is not very logical and convincing. But - and this was said already above - sometimes it is very difficult to find the reason for the use of a special preposition. And in this case I think nobody has an answer.

I might offer a wild guess. I am German and in German it is "stolz (proud) auf" and German "auf" and English "of" are very similar. Please don't understand that English today imitated a German formula. The origin of German "auf" and English "of" after proud was probably centuries or even a thousand years ago when the German variants in the North of Germany and the English variants in England were very similar.

  • 4
    Please: I think you are unnecessarily harsh. If OP gives the impression of seeking to "improve" English, I think it is wholly inadvertent, because OP has not mastered the language. Feb 22, 2014 at 20:25
  • 1
    I also think that the fact that the pride he feels derives from his son and his actions makes it a reasonable question.
    – Jim
    Feb 23, 2014 at 1:41
  • A look in any dictionary online would suffice to see that the construction is "to be proud of" and no dictionary mentions a variant such as "to be proud from".
    – rogermue
    Feb 23, 2014 at 11:16
  • RE: "from" is always connected with the idea of movement from a point. I think you're incorrect on that. A few examples: The child suffers from asthma; the president was ousted from power; the swimmer was saved from drowning; I would sell anywhere from 10 to 15 units each week; you can take any elective from our department; our bazaar will be held from 10 AM until 2 PM; my child was speaking from age 2; she was watching the parade from behind the balcony; I am proud from the bottom of my heart. I also agree with @Stoney: nothing prevents you from being more civil, gracious, and polite.
    – J.R.
    Feb 23, 2014 at 21:06
  • German auf is not cognate with English off but with English up. The German cognate of English off is ab. Feb 23, 2014 at 21:19

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