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What would the right preposition here: about or of?

Spielberg always dreamed about/of directing a James Bond movie.

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In my personal experience (American English), there is one very minor difference between the two phrases "dream of" and "dream about."

"dream about" is used more for literal dreams you have while sleeping. In your example, I would interpret

"Spielberg always dreamed about directing a James Bond movie."

as meaning that Spielberg has recurring dreams every night in which he is directing a James Bond movie. Then, based on the context, I would probably "correct" this to a metaphorical dream (a desire or aspiration).


"dream of" can be used for either the literal sleep-time dreams or the dreams of desire or aspiration. But I tend to lean towards interpreting these dreams as the desires or aspirations, since "dream about" takes care of the literal dreams.

Spielberg always dreamed of directing a James Bond movie.

means that Spielberg has always has always desired directing a James Bond movie.

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You can use either "of" or "about" after the verb dream, without any difference in meaning.

You use either of the prepositions after dream to mean;

1, to experience a dream in your sleep.

2, to think about something that you like or desire to happen

The use of " dream about" is more common in the first sense whereas "dream of" is more common in the second sense.

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I would use the preposition of:

Spielberg always dreamed of directing a James Bond movie.

To me this means that he always dreamed to direct a James Bond movie but he never did it, even though surprisingly, he got two chances to make his pitch and got a flat “No”.

If I were to say:

Spielberg always dreamed about directing a James Bond movie.

would mean, that his dream came true and he's directing right now this movie.

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    I disagree. "Dreamed about" doesn't carry any implication that the dream has been fulfilled. While there may be slightly different connotations between "of" and "about", either is correct, and neither implies fulfillment of the dream. Commented Jul 21, 2015 at 19:40
  • Never mind, that will do just fine @GentlePurpleRain , but might it never mean so? Please compare: I dream of the problem's solution (I need to find a solution to the problem) with I dream about the problem's solution (the solution has already been found and I'm considering it). Commented Jul 21, 2015 at 21:35
  • No, I still don't see a difference there. Maybe the words are used differently in different parts of the world, but everyone here with me agrees that the two have virtually the same meaning. Commented Jul 21, 2015 at 21:37

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