Are these two sentences interchangeable?

  • "I am embarrassed about playing Pokemon at my age"

  • "I am embarrassed by playing Pokemon at my age"

I know that either "by" or "about" can be used after "embarrassed", but when I use "embarrassed by" before a gerund, it sounds like it might be wrong to me. So, I am sure we can say "I am embarrassed about playing Pokemon at my age", but how about the version with "by"?

Context: I am a Pokemon player and it makes me embarrassed because of my age.


2 Answers 2


Those two sentences are not interchangeable. The first sentence may technically be grammatically correct, but it would confuse the hearer.

The second one is better, but it's a little ambiguous: it could mean that you're embarrassed because you play Pokemon, or that you're embarrassed by other people playing Pokemon.

It would be better to say, "I'm embarrassed because I play Pokemon at my age."

  • 1
    There's nothing confusing about the first sentence. It's the equivalent of "embarrassed of," and means the speaker finds the action, or perhaps others knowing about the action, embarrassing. "I'm embarrassed about" isn't equivalent to "embarrassed because"--the causal factor is not that strong.
    – Katy
    Commented Feb 27, 2020 at 2:49
  • Thank you. @Katy Do you think "I am embarrassed about playing Pokemon", "I am embarrassed by playing Pokemon" and "I am embarrassed to play Pokemon" interchangeable if I am a Pokemon player and I am embarrassed about it? Commented Feb 27, 2020 at 16:11
  • @FireandIce "Embarrassed about" sounds strange to me. "Embarrassed by" and "embarrassed to" technically mean different things, but are interchangeable for the purpose of the point you're trying to communicate.
    – John Doe
    Commented Feb 27, 2020 at 16:25
  • (For example: I'm embarrassed about the incident. about=with regard to, and very idiomatic I might add. It is really too bad my answer got two downvotes. There is no confusion there at all. One can very easily be embarrassed about something in English.
    – Lambie
    Commented Feb 28, 2020 at 19:52

If you are embarrassed by playing P, it means you have played it and it embarrasses you so now you don't. This can also be said: Playing P. embarrasses me.

If you are embarrassed about playing P, you might not play it all because it embarrasses you. about playing P.= with regard to playing P.

about = with regard to.

The story about her. about=with regard to her.

I am embarrassed by you. (passive) You embarrass me. (active) You do that to me.

I am embarrassed about you. I am embarrassed with regard to you.

about+ Merriam Webster:

4a: with regard to : CONCERNING spoke about his past


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .