Is there a structure as

It was [some adjective, usually negative] of [someone].

in the English Language?

I often find myself writing things like

  1. It was quite bold of him.

  2. I agree—it was pretty pedantic of me.

I'm not even sure this is completely grammatical, but I have seen "too foolish of [...]" being used a couple of times here and there. I can't find solid evidence that this can be extended to all kinds of adjectives to describe someone, in general.

I strongly believe it was somewhere in SE I first encountered this sort of phrasing and am pretty confident it had been used with "pedantic".

The only place I found a reference to this structure after googling all possible configurations is some site called Ludwig. Here, there's a good many examples of "foolish of [...]" being used in trusted sources.


The reason why I asked this question is...

I wrote:

This might come off as quite idiotic of me, but I don't [...]

But it doesn't sound right to me, whereas using it in the usual way with a be-verb before it doesn't.

Should I have written

This might come off as being quite idiotic of me.


This makes me wonder if there are certain limitations on how and where this structure can be used.

  • The answer is yes: an opinion or statement or words can be said to be x [ where x is an adjective] of [someone]. It is very, very common in English. Try"silly of him", "silly of her"; "nice of them", "nice of you". With quotes.
    – Lambie
    Apr 26, 2018 at 16:55
  • @Lambie How about "This might come off as quite idiotic of me."? Apr 26, 2018 at 17:08
  • Sure, that's fine. But usually one would continue on with something more like: [...] but I think that a, b, c.
    – Lambie
    Apr 26, 2018 at 17:14
  • @Lambie Yeah. It needs to be followed with contrast. Apr 26, 2018 at 17:17

1 Answer 1


In English, statements or opinions expressed orally or in conversations are very often expressed with the structure given below. They are also found in reported speech and are often followed by additional speech or comments:

x may sound or be or appear or seem [with or without adverb] [adjective] of [person or pronoun]. Usually with be, copula and some sense verbs.

  • This may be completely silly of me
  • That sounds very typical of him
  • Saying that may have sounded amazingly stupid of us

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