Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Many speakers and internet writers seem to use "curious of" in place of "curious about". For example:

I am curious of what he thinks.

This is in spite of what seems to be, by the rules of grammar I can find, less correct than saying:

I am curious about what he thinks.

I have heard both forms uttered so much that there seems in fact a subtle difference in meaning between the two, but I may be imagining things.

Two questions--

  1. Is "curious of" really any less correct than "curious about"?
  2. Is "curious of" actually more appropriate for certain subjects or certain relationships, due to different connotations perhaps?
share|improve this question

3 Answers 3

The entry in the Oxford English Dictionary for curious has two citations which include curious of. Both are given under obsolete definitions. The British National Corpus has no records showing curious of followed by the kind of construction seen in your example. We can conclude that it has no role in normal contemporary English.

share|improve this answer

"Curious of" is not idiomatic American English. The Brigham Young University COCA corpus shows 20 hits for it compared with 1532 for "curious about". I was surprised that there were 20 hits.

The BNC shows only 6 hits for "curious of" and 50 random hits for "curious about". It apparently isn't idiomatic British English either.

Google Ngram viewer shows a decline in the usage of "curious of" and a rise in the usage of "curious about". The former seems to be a dated usage, and I'd avoid it, unless you want to sound like a 19th-century speaker-writer or a non-native speaker.

There are no discernible differences in connotation between "of" and "about" in these phrases that recommend one usage over the other.

share|improve this answer
    
Of those 20 hits, only 8 meet the criteria we are discussing here. –  Jim Feb 8 '13 at 7:09
    
@Jim: So even less used than "curious about". –  user21497 Feb 8 '13 at 7:12
    
Yep. It's a curious construction. –  Jim Feb 8 '13 at 7:17

This could be a dialect choice, but the standard use is "curious about". There are no grammar books that use "curious of". But as language is in perpetual flux, this might be an accepted "verb+preposition collocation" in the future.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.