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The following multiple choice question is from a competitive exam.

Q: You are fortunate ________ having an intelligent and obedient son.

a) For
b) Of
c) In
d) To

I opted for as the correct option, but they say the answer is in.

What is the correct option, and why is (only?) that one correct?

  • 1
    Hi Sandeep, welcome to ELL! Can you tell us which answer you think it might be (or one you think it might not be) and why? We can give you the answer, of course, but it would help us with our thought-process in explaining if we knew what you were thinking about the question. – WendiKidd May 2 '13 at 16:30
  • This question is from a competetive exam. I opted 'for'. In the key, they mentioned the answer as 'in'. So, thought of checking with you. – Sandeep May 2 '13 at 17:19
  • Welcome to ELL! I was so free as to edit your comment into your original post (although that will not be visible before being reviewed) and just wanted to point out that it is still possible for you to improve your post by editing after you asked it. – Stephen May 2 '13 at 20:13
  • In most contexts(normal conversation rather than a test) I would most likely pause (a comma) after "fortunate" without any other addition or You are fortunate to have an intelligent and obedient son. – user31123 May 2 '13 at 23:02
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This is one of those easy-to-answer hard-to-explain questions.

Let's examine them all to see what works and what doesn't.

You are fortunate for having an intelligent and obedient son.

Fortunate is an adjective. We are saying that you are fortunate, and then explaining what is causing you to be fortunate. When explaining causation, for can be a suitable choice.

He lives happy for all is well.


You are fortunate of having an intelligent and obedient son.

You cannot use of this way with fortunate. Of is a word that explains a cause, origin, direction, or feature of something.

He is of noble birth.

She is living west of here.

I am drinking a cup of juice.

You can never say: He is of having. It is not a sensible construction.


You are fortunate in having an intelligent and obedient son.

You can make a case for in here. In is a word that implies you're including something.

I was in the red until I got my finances in order.

She was in trouble for something she did not do.

While it is not the ideal answer, you can easily make a case for it.


You are fortunate to having an intelligent and obedient son.

To implies an action or a direction.

I am walking to the liquor store.

I am trying to get drunk.

I am going to regret my actions.

We generally do not say to having. You can say have to as in

I have to pee.

The best of the four seems to be for. You are lucky for your health. You are happy for your success.

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    +1. Regarding to, I would also add that the most common way to say the sentence in question would likely be You are fortunate to have an intelligent and obedient son. (Note the use of have, not having). – WendiKidd May 2 '13 at 16:37
  • Agreed. I never like these types of exercises since the sentences aren't usually formed as well as they might be, and a case can sometimes be made for more than one answer. – pedram May 2 '13 at 16:41
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    This is a great answer for the most part, although a quick look at this NGram shows that actually "you are fortunate in" is, in fact, more idiomatic than "you are fortunate for": books.google.com/ngrams/… – Matt May 2 '13 at 17:08

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