The sentence is " I was once intrigued yet confused with/by all the things that I could supposedly do with my meagre salary"

Why is using 'with' Wrong ? I thought 'with' means you are in possession with another thing. In this case, the person is with the 'things' that he could do with. He is in possession of his salary .

So I'm confused why 'with' is wrong , and 'by 'is the answer

  • I just want to point out that "salary" has nothing to do grammatically with the question you're asking. It is "all the things" the salary makes possible that act as the agent of confusion and intrigue.
    – TimR
    Commented Jul 27, 2016 at 1:47

1 Answer 1


I was confused and intrigued is cast here as a passive construction, and the passive takes a by phrase to identify the Agent, the entity which "performs" the confusion.

It is true that the adjective intrigued often takes as its complement a preposition phrase headed by with, which designates the objects which excite my interest. But when confused takes a complement headed by with the collocation is an idiom which has an entirely different meaning:

I was confused with all the things

would mean that somebody erroneously took me to be all the things, and all the things to be me—which makes no sense at all!


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