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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

2 Answers 2

up vote 4 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 tends to be used with "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 in both those NGram links, the alternative preposition doesn't occur often enough to show on the chart. Since OP's example is the second of the above constructions, it's clear the overwhelmingly majority of writers use for in that context.

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Not sure why, but I'd agree with this, +1 from me. I'm Australian if that makes any difference. ;-) (Though I'd remove the space before the full-stop in your example, just to be pedantic...) – Amos M. Carpenter Apr 2 '12 at 2:56
@aaamos: Will no-one rid me of this turbulent pedant!? Okay I'll fix the typo - us Queen's English speakers have got to stick together against those who "have an admiration of others" (whoever they are - I think it might just be archaic or dialectal). – FumbleFingers Apr 2 '12 at 3:03

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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