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Let's say Alice sees her boyfriend Bob with Charlotte, another girl. Now, I know the correct usage is "Alice is jealous of Bob". My question is how to connect this predicate (be jealous) to Charlotte. That is:

Alice is jealous [of Bob] ___ Charlotte.

What preposition should come before Charlotte? If there is such a preposition, can I leave the part between the square brackets (of Bob) out?

Or how can I otherwise express this idea with and without including Bob in the equation?

  • Seems to me that Alice is jealous of Charlotte. (But then I usually assume "straight" until informed otherwise.) – Hot Licks Apr 28 '15 at 1:53
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    @javaNoobs - Jealousy does not require a third party. Bob can be jealous of Frank because Frank has a fancier motorcycle. – Hot Licks Apr 28 '15 at 3:25
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    But the net is that "jealousy" is between the person who has the emotion, and the person or object that the first person envies. "Jealousy" does not refer to the reason for the envy. Especially in the case of the proverbial lover's triangle this is inconvenient, in that all parties cannot be referred to using a single verb, but that's the way it is. (And I don't offhand know of another term that allows specifying all three parties or even a separate one which will concisely identify the otherwise omitted party.) – Hot Licks Apr 28 '15 at 3:44
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    "Alice is jealous of Bob for Charlotte." -- 'because of' Cf: "Alice wouldn't have been jealous of Bob but for Charlotte." – Kris Apr 28 '15 at 5:21
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    @Kris - So Bob has taken Charlotte away from Alice?? – Hot Licks Apr 28 '15 at 11:39
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The correct construct is "Alice is jealous of Bob and Charlotte". Jealousy is defined by Merriam-Webster's dictionary as, "an unhappy or angry feeling of wanting to have what someone else has," or, "an unhappy or angry feeling caused by the belief that someone you love (such as your husband or wife) likes or is liked by someone else." (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/jealousy)

Therefore, Alice is jealous of Bob for being loved by Charlotte, and Alice is jealous of Charlotte for loving Bob.

  • Hi @Ben, welcome to ELU. I've removed your reference to another user, as it wasn't clear which post/comment it was related to. Your answer can (and should) stands alone without referencing other users' posts. – AndyT Sep 23 '15 at 8:35
  • I had referenced Little Eva because it was the same wording that was used in his comment on javaNoobs' Answer, but if you feel it's unnecessary I'll leave it out. Thanks AndyT. – Ben Sep 23 '15 at 15:10
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If you believe the prophet Ezekiel, it is "jealous against":

And I will set my jealousy against thee, and they shall deal furiously with thee
— Ezekiel 23:25

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    This example is too ancient to rely on for modern usage :-) – alx Apr 28 '15 at 2:21
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    Yeah, a lot of people say that about the Bible. "My friend Weird Howard tells me he got a new job. He is selling Bibles. I say, 'Weird Howard, Bibles are free.' He says, 'These are custom Bibles. For $20 extra, I'll take out any two Commandments.' So now I can commit adultery on Sundays." – Malvolio Apr 28 '15 at 15:38
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A problem with 'jealous' is that it does not only mean… (as in your question)

what it should – 'not wanting other people to take away from you what or who you have'

but also

what it should not – 'wanting to take away from other people what or who they have'

which is unambiguously rendered by 'envious'.

But that does not address your question…

So, here is: if you are 'jealous of what you have', it goes without saying that you want to protect it from anyone and everyone. If this goes without saying, then a preposition to introduce what need not be mentioned is unnecessary!

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Alice is jealous of Charlotte.

You are right, you don't need "of Bob".

The Free Dictionary says

Fearful or wary of losing one's position or situation to someone else, especially in a sexual relationship: Her new boyfriend was jealous of her male friends.

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The usage examples I have found contain 'of' in all cases:

  • jealous of my wife's friends
  • jealous of my husband's co-workers
  • jealous of his wife

These examples make me think the correct usage is:

Alice is jealous of Bob of Charlotte.

An example, 'Comment of the Week: I’m Jealous of My Wife’s Friends' on emandlo.com

“Your Call: Why Is My Husband Jealous of My Female Friendships?”

Here is another example on mentalhelp.net

"My husband and I have been married for 6+ years. I would consider us to be one of the happiest couples I know. With that said, every 3-4 months my husband displays signs of jealousy (of my family and girl friends) and lashes out at me. He tells me that as a wife I should put him first. In my eyes I always have and always will."

Either example deals with the third party to jealousy, the reason of jealousy (Charlotte) rather than an object of jealousy (Bob) in your given example.

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    Alice is jealous of Bob and Charlotte. – user98990 Apr 28 '15 at 4:27
  • @Little Eva - this sounds very elegant and clear, why don't you make this an answer? – alx Apr 28 '15 at 4:29
  • Because I gave it to thou. – user98990 Apr 28 '15 at 4:31
  • @Little Eva - but there is one little disadvantage with dropping a preposition: it is not always clear whom exactly Alice loves or hates – alx Apr 28 '15 at 4:32
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    I believe Alice is envious of Bob & Charlotte's relationship. She has come to realize that their friendship has qualities missing from her and Bob's relationship. – user98990 Apr 28 '15 at 4:35

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