Is to hear of perfectly synonymous with to hear about? Or are there contexts in which one excludes the other?

Hearing of... is great news.

Hearing about... is great news.


1 Answer 1


To hear of something is to become aware of it, whereas to hear about something is to be informed about it, for example, to receive news about it:

Have you heard of John Key? [i.e. do you know who John Key is?]

Have you heard about John Key? [i.e. have you heard the news involving John Key?]

I heard of a new restaurant in the Gaslamp Quarter. [i.e. I have learned that there is a new restaurant.]

I heard about a new restaurant in the Gaslamp Quarter. [i.e. somebody told me about a new restaurant (and she wouldn't shut up about it for three trolley stops).]

A similar distinction exists with knowing of and knowing about, telling of / telling about, and similar pairs of verbs about information transmission.


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