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Is it "admiration for" or "admiration of"?

For instance, does the sentence "He had a great admiration of Washington Irving." make sense?

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@Carlo_R.: Posted it as an answer – Armen Ծիրունյան Apr 2 '12 at 0:08
Have admiration for; *Do sth./ Be in admiration of'. – Kris Sep 26 '12 at 13:00
up vote 5 down vote accepted

Possibly there's a US/UK divide here. I don't much like OP's example usage.

It's not obvious why the adjective "great" should affect the acceptable preposition either, but I must say "He had an admiration of Washington Irving" sounds awful to me. I'd always use for, and drop the article...

He had great admiration for Washington Irving.

EDIT: As @Armen Ծիրունյան's answer points out, admiration of still occurs fairly often, but it usually occurs in "adjectival" constructions involving [to be] in admiration of. Where admiration has a more overt "noun" sense, we use [to have] [an] admiration for...


Note that the "alternative" versions (was in admiration for, had admiration of) don't occur often enough to show on the chart. Clearly the vast majority of writers use for in OP's context.

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Both admiration of and admiration for are correct, and have the same meaning. Google NGrams Viewer shows that although admiration of used to be prevalent before 1920, neither has a decisive upper hand now.

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