Boy: I already know what my parents are giving me... A new bike. I saw my dad come home with it from my window last night. It's out in the garage.

Uncle: Okay, but then remember to act really surprised when you get it, you know. Otherwise your dad will just feel really guilty that he messed up. / because he messed up. / for messing up. / about messing up.

Would all four versions be correct? Could you say anything about which one of them that would be most natural in the context?

1 Answer 1


"....guilty he messed up" might be more natural than any of them. But "...guilty that he messed up" is OK and "...guilty for messing up is not bad. "...guilty because he messed up" is the least natural.

I'm on the dad's side! He didn't really mess up. How would he know the boy would be watching? The version with "because" really lays the blame at his door, whereas "...guilty he messed up" sounds more as if he'll feel like he messed up.

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