0

I am writing to express my complete dissatisfaction with the meal I was served last night.

I am writing to express my complete dissatisfaction at the meal I was served last night.

Which one is correct? It seems to me that the first sentence is correct and the second is wrong, but according to Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary it's correct to use at:

She expressed deep dissatisfaction at the way the interview had been conducted.

  • I wouldn't say either is wrong, but I prefer the version with with. – user339660 Aug 10 at 10:38
  • I'm not a native speaker of English so I'm asking the natives what they think about it. Longman, Macmillan, Merriam don't give any examples with "at". Is "at" the replacement of "with"? – user357319 Aug 10 at 10:47
  • In a way. Prepositions can be a bit random but I would say that at usually refers to the cause of a state of mind, and tends to be used with states of mind that don't last very long - examples would be I was surprised at the news or her face fell at the sight of the run-down house. The meaning is when I heard the news, I was surprised, or when she saw the run-down house, her face fell... – user339660 Aug 10 at 12:21
  • ... with refers more to the object of the state of mind, and tends to be used with states of mind that continue for a while, as in I'm very happy with the accommodation or I was dissatisfied with the service. The difference in meaning is hard to explain, but there is less of an idea of sudden causation when you use with. I would say that at can be used with dissatisfied but that with is more common, and is a better choice when you are not referring to a state of mind that is suddenly caused by some event and does not last very long. – user339660 Aug 10 at 12:26

Your Answer

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

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.