It is easy when you say something becomes or unbecomes someone. In this case, no preposition is needed. It is another story when the verb turns into the adjective “(un)becoming”. I would like to understand which pick is correct:

a conduct (un)becoming a man

a conduct (un)becoming to a man

a conduct (un)becoming of a man

It is that inner feeling that tells me that the first sentence sounds awkward and misused. The variant with ‘to’ will be better in the verbal phrase “to conduct (un)becoming to a man”. Clearly, the choice becomes number three, or does it?

  • "unbecoming 'of' someone" is what I would say...
    – Elian
    Nov 8, 2015 at 8:19
  • 1
    You can also use "in" (conduct unbecoming in a man)
    – herisson
    Nov 8, 2015 at 9:52
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    One needn't assume that "becoming" and "unbecoming" call for the same preposition, or any at all. I would not say "conduct becoming a man" because "becoming a man" is also the present progressive of "become"; i.e., turning into a man. Seriously. You never hear the positive form in America, but the negative form "conduct unbecoming" has become a fixed phrase, so much so that one can use it as a sentence-ender, without preposition, article or person postfixed. "That is considered conduct unbecoming." For the positive, we might use "conduct befitting a man". Nov 8, 2015 at 10:25

1 Answer 1


Evidently all three are grammatical:


  1. Not in accord with the standards implied by one's character or position:

conduct unbecoming an officer



  1. behaviour that is unbecoming is shocking or unsuitable

conduct unbecoming to a teacher

(Longman Dictionary)

They maintain that Irving's conduct was unbecoming of a reputable historian.


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