In the following sentence, what will be the right preposition? He is ambitious ____ fame.

  • I would use "of" but it could well be archaic. – michael.hor257k Jan 7 at 13:41
  • 2
    This is not a construction we'd normally use, so there's no "right" preposition. The two most obvious ones are of and for, but Google Ngram shows they're both exceedingly rarely used. To confirm @michael.hor257k's comment, of appears to have been preferred in the 19th century. – Chappo Jan 7 at 13:54
  • I would use for, assuming that fame is the desired result of the ambition. However, generally one is said simply to be ambitious. – Andrew Leach Jan 13 at 9:22

There are multiple possibilities depending on what you mean. That said, consider for.

Wiktionary lists this as definition 10:

In order to obtain or acquire.

Compare: He is hungry for fame. He strives for fame.

In this sense, fame is what he hopes to acquire. Why does he hope to acquire it? Because he is ambitious. So

He is ambitious for fame.

  • Unfortunately, the combination "ambitious for" already has a different meaning, as in "his mother was hard-working and ambitious for her four children" (example sentence from NOAD). – michael.hor257k Jan 7 at 14:29
  • Yes, just as for in general has well over ten distinct uses. Contextually, it should be clear how to understand "ambitious for <thing being sought>" as distinct from "ambitious for <people who one is working on behalf of>." See the example in Merriam-Webster def. 1b: "ambitious for power" (merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ambitious) – TaliesinMerlin Jan 7 at 15:09
  • Good point. You should add this to your answer. – michael.hor257k Jan 7 at 15:45

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.