Uncertain how to react, she was puzzled when she found that she was being cheated.

Vs Uncertain about how to react, she was puzzled when she found that she was being cheated.


I am uncertain about what I want.. vs I am uncertain what I want.

Is about necessary? Or is it redundant in the given sentences?

And could anybody please explain to me when one needs to use about and when should not?


Either is acceptable.

This Ngram shows that "uncertain about how" has only come to be used relatively recently, but "uncertain how" is still used far more.

It isn't really a case of when to use one or the other, although there may be times when "about" perhaps should not be used, as it implies a specific subject. For example, someone who was "scared about the future" may well be thinking of some specific aspect of the future, whereas someone "scared of the future" sounds like they are just scared of future events in general. The same could be true with "uncertain". You can also be "uncertain of" something.



These are uncertain times. [adjective coming before a noun, or pre-positioned].

However, if a person is uncertain or certain about some situation, the preposition about must be used.


He is uncertain about the right answer. He is certain about the right answer.

So, you use about when referring to a person who is uncertain/certain about something.

  • Are you certain he left on time for school?
  • No, I am not certain about that.

I personally would not say: I am certain what I want. For me, that is ungrammatical.

This is true of other adjectives referring to one's state or condition.

  • He was not clear on that subject or about that subject.

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