What is the rule that I can follow to decide when to use "of" or "at" When they are both used for causes.

1- I'm ( surprised/amazed/disappointed) at you.

2- I'm (afraid/sick/tired ) of you.

  • Ii's often "I'm happy with ...." And certainly 'bored with'. You have to be around practised Anglophones to pick up what's idiomatic. And/or read lots of good literature. But here, note that 'alarmed at' contrasts with 'afraid of'; note that one addresses a more punctive (rather than durative) causal agent. 'Afraid of dying'. 'Alarmed at the sudden increase in deaths'. Commented Apr 19, 2020 at 14:30
  • @Edwin Ashworth Thank you for the information, but actually I don't totally understand what you mean by "punctive" and "durative" . Could you please give some more details ??
    – Mohamed kz
    Commented Apr 20, 2020 at 9:04
  • You are usually 'alarmed at/by something' and almost always 'startled by' something within a brief timespan rather than over say hours or weeks. An event that is 'momentary' (not necessarily as brief as an instant, but over some brief timespan within an ongoing period) is punctive. The continuous/lasting situation / activity is durative. Commented Apr 20, 2020 at 12:01


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