I'm aware there are different prepositions possible after disappointed: with, in, of, at. I'm particulary interested in the difference between with and in.

  • I'm disappointed with you.
  • I'm disappointed in you.

Which one is correct? Or do they have a slightly different meaning?


6 Answers 6


I don't know about any official documentation on this, but it seems from usage that "disappointed with" typically precedes a demonstrative pronoun, while "disappointed in" directly precedes a subject or an article and subject:

I'm disappointed in the ruling.
I'm disappointed in Tom.

I'm disappointed with that result.
I'm disappointed with her performance.

The 'that' and 'her' are demonstrative pronouns, while 'Tom' and 'the ruling' are subjects ('the' obviously being the article).


While both prepositions are correct for everything, I would tend to use disappointed in for people and disappointed with for objects or events. I'm not alone. Consider the following Google Ngram

The majority of the time, the noun following the will not be a person, whereas you always refers to a person.

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To me there is no difference between the two. I can imagine a situation where my boss comes to me and says either of the sentences above. I wouldn't walk away with any different an interpretation It seems as though the words "with" and "in" have lost their semantic role and serve only as markers that carry the significance of "dissapointed" to the object.

In regards to "of" and "at," "of" seems to be poor usage with a confusing meaning and "at" tends to get the message across but in a less clear and colloquially inefficient manner.


disappointed: upset because sth you hoped for has not happened or been as good, successful, etc. as you expected. Examples: - They were bitterly disappointed at the result of the game. - I was disappointed by the quality of the wine. - I’m disappointed in you—I really thought I could trust you! - I was very disappointed with myself.
- He was disappointed to see she wasn’t at the party. - I’m disappointed (that) it was sold out. - She was disappointed not to be chosen.

As you can see, there are many options to choose from. It´s a matter of context which preposition you have to choose.

In your case:

"I am dissapointed in you." and "I am dissapointed with you." are both correct, while "I am dissapointed at you." is incorrect and "I am dissapointed by you." sounds awkward to me. It would be better an expression such as "I am disappointed by (or with) your behavior."

  • 'That' isn't a preposition, and neither is 'to' in 'to see'. Dec 24, 2019 at 14:54

There is no difference between disappointed in/with. Thus, we can say: I'm disappointed in/with you. Note that here the object of the preposition (in/with) is human. Likewise, we cannot say: I'm disappointed at/about you. In such cases, the object of the preposition must be "something": I'm disappointed at/about the result of the exam, not: I'm disappointed in/with the result of the exam.


When giving out statements to the press people often leave it ambiguous over whether they were disappointed in themselves (blame themselves) or in someone else (blame others) or just disappointed with the outcome (no one to blame). The press may also leave it ambiguous in their headlines too.

Some examples from the BBC :-

Iain Lewers disappointed at being dropped by GB …Two-time Olympian Iain Lewers says he is hugely disappointed at being dropped… Published Date TagsSportHockey Published Date 1 Dec 2016

DUP's Bradley 'disappointed' by Wilson's AIDS comments …The DUP MLA Paula Bradley has said she is disappointed by comments made by her… say I was slightly disappointed by that reaction. I believe it wouldn't have been… Published Date TagsNewsNorthern Ireland Published Date 30 Nov 2016

Tyrone boss Harte 'disappointed' over contract extension rebuff …Red Hands manager Mickey Harte says he is disappointed that his request… Published Date TagsSportGaelic Games Published Date 31 Aug 2016

Heads 'disappointed' by Autumn Statement funding omission …Head teachers say it is "disappointing" that Chancellor Philip Hammond's Autumn… Leaders, said: "It is disappointing that the Autumn Statement failed to address… Teacher, also expressed his disappointment the government had failed to use… Published Date TagsNewsEducation & Family Published Date 8 Dec 2016

Hacio: Cyfres 2016: 9 … Bieber. Sion investigates a ticket company that has disappointed a number of Justin… Published Date TagsProgrammesS4C Published Date 18 Nov 2016

Arlene Foster disappointed by fund criticism …First Minister Arlene Foster says she is disappointed by criticism… Published Date TagsNewsNorthern Ireland Published Date 15 Dec 2016

John Legend: Kanye West and Donald Trump meeting 'a publicity stunt' … French media outlet Clique the pair's meeting was "disappointing". "I don't think… for a lot of people, and for Kanye to support that message is very disappointing." Mr… disappointed with Kanye that he says he would have voted for Trump." West is one of the few… Published Date TagsNewsEntertainment & Arts

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