• Even if you're aware how bad things are, you should still try not to lose hope.
    • Even if you're aware of how bad things are, you should still try not to lose hope.
    • The more I become aware how their culture works, the more amazed I am.
    • The more I become aware of how their culture works, the more amazed I am.

I looked at the Ngram chart and turns out aware of how is more common now than aware how. I also looked at some questions on some forum sites and at one question posted here on ellstackexchange itself, and I'm still confused about if one is more grammatically accurate than the other, or if it doesn't matter if you omit the preposition. In the first example, either sentence seems fine to use to me, and in the second, the second sentence seems like a better option to go with.

Does it matter if you omit the preposition following aware? Is it wrong to omit the preposition? Does it depend on the context whether you should omit the preposition? Or does it just come down to personal preference?

  • 1
    Both of them sound equally correct to me.
    – Void
    May 4, 2021 at 21:23

1 Answer 1


Short answer - they're almost the same, but if you're not sure, say "aware of how."

There are a few points:

  1. Dropping the "of" is a bit more casual. So you'd be less likely to do it when writing.

  2. On the other hand, "aware" is not the most casual word to begin with. If you say "Are you aware of...?" in speech, you're already conveying a slightly greater precision or formality, compared to just saying "You know ... ?" So to my ears there's a slight clash when you use this word, but then casually drop "of."

  3. "How" can have different functions. I would be more likely to use "aware how" when "how" itself is semantically empty. Compare these examples:

  • "He clearly has an anger management problem - you see how he's always breaking things."
  • "He's really a genius. I can't figure out how he solved that math problem."

In the first, "how" contributes no actual meaning; it just introduces the subordinate clause. It's almost as if you had used "that" or dropped it entirely: "you see he's always breaking things."

In the second, "how" actually refers to the method used, and could not be dropped.

"Aware of how" could also be used in these two ways:

  • "Are you aware of how he's always breaking things?" - "how" is semantically empty, same as "aware that"
  • "Are you aware of how this castle was constructed?" - "how" is crucial to the meaning

If it's a case where you could replace "aware of how" with "aware that", I would be more likely to drop the "of" and just say "aware how".

All that said, the difference is pretty subtle. But I think "aware of how" will sound better more often, so I would recommend using that if you're not sure.

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