I'm a big fan of yours

simply means that I'm a fan of whatever you are known for.

So, if you are Serena W, I'm talking about your mastery on tennis. If you are Justin, I'm fan of your art of singing.

Now, imagine a beautiful actress who knows little about acting. While she looks gorgeous, her acting falls below expectation. I admire her beauty and not her acting. May I say...

I'm a big fan of her beauty (no sarcasm intended)

Can we be a fan of such abstract nouns, human qualities/characteristics?

A few more examples:

I'm a big fan of your intelligence
I'm a big fan of your anger (- yeah, goes true in case of Hulk!)
I'm a big fan of your romance
I'm a big fan of your confidence

and so on...

  • 3
    Eh, why not?­­­
    – M.A.R.
    Jan 22 '16 at 7:03
  • 1
    I wanted to complain, but then I realized this allows you to tell the Queen "I'm a big fan of Your Majesty", and I withdrew all complaints. On a more serious tack, the grammar behind this already seems very screwy, so you can't really mess it up more. (if you don't see why it's screwy, why is "yours" in the possessive form? that's not rhetorical, someone should really answer that if they can.) Jan 22 '16 at 8:11
  • there's a possessive form because it is actually 'your fan'. A car of yours, a motorbike of yours, and so a fan of yours. They possess 'fan'. @modulusshift
    – Maulik V
    Jan 22 '16 at 8:41
  • 1
    @Ϻ.Λ.Ʀ. Because of ell.stackexchange.com/a/74102/3281, perhaps? Jan 22 '16 at 10:41
  • Admirer works better than fan.
    – shawnt00
    Feb 1 '16 at 0:20

You can, although it is not considered "proper" English. I'm a big fan of yours is a common English expression. If you are more specific, it comes off as rude, or even sarcastic (as you mentioned). It is like saying you only appreciate certain characteristics the person possesses, rather than them as a whole. However, if you were to say "I'm envious of her beauty", or simply "She's quite beautiful", then it remains a compliment (as it was intended). These instances work since they were not originally expressions that offered larger compliments before being changed.

  • 1
    I like your answer. +1 Jan 22 '16 at 15:12
  • @MarkHubbard Oops, thanks! I haven't been writing lately, so I seem to be ending up with a lot of my own voice in my writing these days xD Jan 22 '16 at 15:16

As a native speaker I would not use fan in the way you ask about, that is, with abstract qualities such as beauty, anger, intelligence. I could maybe use it with things such as popularity or sense of humor.

I'm a big fan of Elvis.

I'm a big fan of Elvis's hound dog.

I'm a big fan of Elvis's singing.

I'm a big fan of Elvis's guitar.

I'm a big fan of Elvis's pelvis.

I'm a big fan of Elvis's sense of humor.

I'm a big fan of Elvis's...


I guess they are not particular enough.

I have to turn to dictionaries, not because dictionaries determine usage but because they describe usage.

Oxford English Dictionary (OED):


A fanatic; in modern English (orig. U.S.): a keen and regular spectator of a (professional) sport, orig. of baseball; a regular supporter of a (professional) sports team; hence, a keen follower of a specified hobby or amusement, and gen. an enthusiast for a particular person or thing.

Merriam Webster Unabridged Dictionary:

1 an enthusiastic devotee of a sport (as baseball) or diversion (as ballet) usually as a spectator rather than a participant

2 an ardent admirer or champion (as of a person, technique, or pursuit) : enthusiast

Such things as sports, diversions, persons, techniques, pursuits seem more particular and much less abstract than qualities such as intelligence, beauty, popularity.

Where to draw the line between idiomatic and non-idiomatic usage? I cannot explain where or how...

Sense of humor can be seen as a technique. But popularity? Questionable. Intelligence, beauty, anger (even the Hulk's anger)...I could perhaps use admirer or detractor but not fan as in supporter, champion, or devotee. I can't put words to my usage, except say I would or I would not use this, ie I consider this or that to be idiomatic or not.

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