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I really don't like the phrase "excited for" which seems to have become very common in recent years, as in "I'm excited for the weekend...". My sarcastic reply would be "I don't think the weekend cares or appreciates you being excited on its behalf". Anyway, I'm aware I have to accept that language changes, even though here I think it's just bad grammar.

The question is ... are there any studies looking at how (the wrong use of) this phrase came about?

I have a theory based on absolutely nothing, that perhaps it came from Spanish where 'por' can be used in this sense, e.g. Google translates "excited about this weekend" to "emocionad(o/a) por este fin de semana". Is it possible that this usage came via speakers of Spanish, perhaps in the US?

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  • I can find many books with the phrase "excited for the weekend", so I don't think it is really a misuse. Also, there is this ngram which shows that both "about" and "for" are in common usage, so I would hesitate to call it "bad grammar"... Commented May 16, 2023 at 15:47
  • Excited for seems to me to refer to one's excitement for the good fortune of another: I'm excited for Harry, winning first place. I'd use excited about for a weekend I was going to spend. Commented May 16, 2023 at 15:51
  • Cambridge considers "Are you excited for your first Oscar nomination?" to be informal. Commented May 16, 2023 at 15:56
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    Couldn't 'excited for the weekend', in some of its occurrences, mean that the weekend was the period during which one felt the excitement, rather than the object of the excitement (e.g. 'I was excited for the weekend, but bored aftrewards')?
    – jsw29
    Commented May 16, 2023 at 16:21
  • As the "sarcastic" reply shows clearly, I think this usage could be labelled better as bad semantics, and even that is questionable ("he went away for a while": a new meaning is soon introduced or an idiom is soon coined). The very same question could be raised for the also recent and controversial "apreciates you being excited". books.google.com/ngrams/…
    – LPH
    Commented May 16, 2023 at 16:41

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Apparently this is an American English issue (possibly regional) which is catching om via Hollywood movies.

Ngram of "excited for the weekend, excited about the weekend" shows mixed results for AmE, but only "excited about the weekend" shows in BrE.

In other words, the AmE query with "about" shows as a recent usage going back to the 1970s, while the version with "for" only dates back to the 1990s in US literature, and not at all for BrE.

So I would say that this is a recent American usage that still sounds "wrong" for British speakers, but would be acceptable for American speakers.

Note that much new language that originates in the New World eventually finds itself taken up as slang in the EU, whether we like it or not.

Cambridge considers the "excited for something" to be informal usage in BrE.

https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/excited

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  • I'm excited for him; he won the prize. I'm excited about him. He's coming down this weekend. Those are just standard in any English? I don't like ngrams for this type of question.
    – Lambie
    Commented May 16, 2023 at 17:20
  • And in your link, there's: Are you getting excited about your holiday? Who says that's slang? The whole utterance is typically British.
    – Lambie
    Commented May 16, 2023 at 17:34
  • @hi Lambie///lovely to hear from you too. How are you? I know you travel a bit, and I was worried... Commented May 16, 2023 at 18:06
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    Is racism possible when referring to trees and reptiles? Commented May 16, 2023 at 18:54
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    I would be hesitant to jump from the n-grams to the conclusion that this construction 'would be acceptable for American speakers' in general. Obviously it is acceptable to those who use it, and the n-grams show that their number is not negligible, but that doesn't tell us anything about the speakers of American English who don't use it: we don't know how many of them abstain from using because it just doesn't fit their style, and how many perceive it as wrong, irritating, slangy, indicative of insufficient education, etc.
    – jsw29
    Commented May 16, 2023 at 19:49

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