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Are "dream of" and "dream about" interchangeable or is there a difference between them in meaning and usage.

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To dream of something implies a want, a need, a desire:

I dream of traveling the world

I dream of world peace

I dream of Jeannie

To dream about something is to literally dream about something, and it's usually presented in the past tense:

I dreamt about winning the lottery

I dreamt about flying

I dreamt about being a millionaire

To use it in the present tense is more passive.

I dream about becoming rich

I dream about Jeannie

I dream about wonderful things.


To dream of uses a different past tense form as well.

DREAMED

I dreamed of having the perfect house

I dreamed of winning the lottery

I dreamed of paradise on the beach.

These have nothing to do with dreaming while asleep. They are all imagined, hoped for, dreamed of...

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    The part about dreaming while asleep ought to be addressed. I think about would be the more natural prepostion, at least when dream is used as a noun: "Last night, I had a dream about eating a giant marshmallow..." – J.R. Jun 11 '14 at 22:32
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    To me, "dreamed about" is just as natural/common/prevalent/apt to be heard/apt to be taught, at least in some places, as "dreamed of." In other words, I'm not sure about signalling out "dreamed" for "of" only. – user6951 Jun 12 '14 at 1:33
  • Please don't use backticks (```) for emphasis or highlights. Code formatting makes text very difficult and annoying to read. Please use italics or bold instead. – Esoteric Screen Name Jun 12 '14 at 1:38
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    I was startled to read that dreamt of was singled out as having a different past tense form (dreamed of), because to me dreamed about is a common past tense form of dream about. – user6951 Jun 12 '14 at 18:22
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To speak about/of or think about/of doesn't normally have the two meanings that dream has. Dreams mean both a purely psychological phenomenon (at one end of its meaning), but can also mean a desire (as in my dream job, dream home, dream girl/boy, etc.

I suggest "Dream of" because it sounds more polite and romantic.

If I say "Dream about you" that covers the wide range of your dream, you could be flying or may get in a wonderland. While saying "Dream of you" that means being real.

Look at this example: I dream of becoming the US marine. (Internal Desire). Here you want something out from you.

I dream about a house/super car (External desire). Here you want to get something from an outside World.

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