I have been asked by a young friend, "Which is correct: bored by, bored of, or bored with?" My instinct is to say that "bored of" and "bored by" are fine, but "bored with" sounds like she is being bored alongside someone else who is also bored. My trusty Dictionary of English Usage has failed me. Any thoughts?

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    This is not "General Reference". The rise of "bored of" is quite a new phenomenon, still far more common in speech than writing. The fact that oxforddictionaries has an item about it doesn't make this a trivial issue. Most native speakers only "know" it because it's a rapid change happening in their own lifetime. Commented May 4, 2012 at 22:05

7 Answers 7


All are correct!!

I'm bored of being the winner!

I'm being bored by my colleagues!

I'm totally bored with my tasks at work!

Yet another usage, I'm bored to death!! ;)

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    How about, "I'm bored from watching television all day."
    – J.R.
    Commented May 4, 2012 at 21:20
  • I came across many instances where I find people using "bored from" in a similar manner. If I ever used "bored from", it has been in a different way. For example, "I get bored from morning till noon on Fridays", but its fair to argue that "from" maybe replaced with "during". IMHO, the usage "bored from" doesn't sound right somehow, but that's just me. :)
    – Fr0zenFyr
    Commented May 5, 2012 at 3:55
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    I checked Google books before I posted; such usage is out there in the literature. Not that books are teeming with the phrase, but it exists nonetheless. If you run a search, you'll find LOTS of references, but most of them are using the word "bore" as a verb meaning "drill" (e.g., the holes are bored from both sides...). Sift through the results long enough, though, and you'll find a few references such as bored from doing nothing. I'll warn you: because the first usage is so predominant, it might take awhile to find them, so you might get bored from the exercise.
    – J.R.
    Commented May 5, 2012 at 9:31
  • Cheers J.R!! You are quite right.
    – Fr0zenFyr
    Commented May 5, 2012 at 10:38
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    That is slightly different. ‘From’ here has the meaning of ‘due to’ or ‘by dint of’; it does not go with ‘bored’ idiomatically. You can also be sick from eating too much, or be exhausted from doing too much work. Commented Jul 15, 2013 at 17:24

They're just alternative prepositions - no "grammatical rule" dictates that any one in particular is right or wrong.

Having said that - in my opinion "bored of" sounds "uneducated", so I'd avoid it in any but the most informal contexts. I think there's no real justification for this, but here's my evidence that most people agree with me...

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On the Internet at large, Google reports 25M instances of "bored of" - against 17M for "bored with", and only 7M for "bored by". The difference between the Google Internet and Google Books is primarily down to the fact that the relative newcomer "bored of" is still primarily a spoken usage, not considered quite "proper" in written contexts.

TL;DR: Safest is "with" - "by" is okay, but avoid "of" if you want to sound like a careful speaker.

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    The BBI Combinatory Dictionary of English says that "British English also has bored of, esp. in children's language." I thought you might like that quote.
    – Alex B.
    Commented May 4, 2012 at 21:49
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    @Alex B.: I had a friend who used to rant about people saying "I would of [done something]". She regularly used to lay into "bored of [something]" within the same tirade, despite me trying to point out that they were totally different contexts. The first is really ignorant - the second just sounds ignorant (probably by association, imho! :). Commented May 4, 2012 at 21:58
  • @FumbleFingers, it is neither appropriate nor necessary to use the "TL;DR:" abbreviation in answers here, because "In short" is more meaningful and more readable. You have also badly punctuated the sentence after that abbreviation. Commented May 5, 2012 at 2:14
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    @jwpat7: Whilst I don't say your points are totally without merit, I was and remain perfectly happy with my final sentence phrased and punctuated as originally written, so I've reverted your edit. As regards "TL;DR" - it's a common enough abbreviation online, especially in this sort of context. Whether I enter it with or without the semicolon, Google is falling over itself to tell me what it means (which I had to do myself in earnest about a year ago, when I first encountered it here on ELU). I certainly don't consider it "inappropriate" for the site. Commented May 8, 2012 at 15:25
  • In relation to the sub-issue of "would of". This has arisen purely through slack speech, i.e. people saying the correct form, past tense, "would have", but pronouncing it "would've" which sounds like "would of". With no knowledge of grammar, one wouldn't realise the error. Same applies to "could of". Kids were making this error 30 years ago when I was teaching, long before texting. Another classic the was "are" instead of "our" as in "meet at are (our) house". In Watford the words are pronounced exactly the same.
    – user43263
    Commented Apr 26, 2013 at 9:15
  • I am sick of the grammar police and their overzealous pedantry.

  • I am tired of having to justify what I regard as acceptable usage.

  • I am bored of reading the same arguments constantly rehashed.

I don't see how any one of these statements is more or less correct usage than the others. I am surprised that bored of is frowned upon.

  • Per my own answer, it all depends on what you mean by "correct". Obviously by, with, of are all "objectively valid", in that people do in fact use them all. But when one is so obviously used far less often in written contexts (by which one can probably assume "more careful writers/speakers"), you have to accept it's reasonable to form tentative opinions of people who are apparently unaware of such a strong usage bias. Commented Jul 15, 2013 at 20:26

I believe they can all be correct,

-I am bored of you (fun at first but needs new tricks, renewed interest possible)

-I am bored by you (No interest at all)

-I am bored with you (Everything of interest taken, no renewed interest expected)


It always sounds wrong to me to use "bored of". My litmus test is to create parallel sentences and see how things fall. I would say, "I am contented with sitting here." I would never say, "I am contented of sitting here." Or, I would say, "I am happy with watching". Not, "I am happy of watching". It works for me. Hence, "I am bored of sitting or bored of watching, or bored of anything else just is incorrect syntax.

  • "Contented" seems to have fallen out of use (in this fashion). I had to look twice at that. books.google.com/ngrams/… Commented Apr 9, 2013 at 13:14
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    If I followed your tip I might be persuaded to say, "*I'm interested with watching this film", which is clearly incorrect. As far as I know, some words have fixed prepositions while others are more flexible.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Sep 26, 2013 at 12:17

Bored of something is incorrect and to use it indicates a lack of education. I suspect it is originally another 'americanism'very much like 'I have gotten tired of watching TV', instead of the correct, I have become tired of watching TV. Gotten is a 'non' word.

  • Whether you may like it or not "gotten" is a word used in AmE (I'm British). If you're suggesting "Bored of something is incorrect" then please substantiate it in the light of the other detailed answers explaining why it is acceptable. This site is for serious answers, not opinionated comments.
    – TrevorD
    Commented Aug 23, 2013 at 10:44

"Bored of" appears to be a result of the new-age teaching guidelines which gave more importance to general meaning than correct usage and grammar. Hearing it on TV or radio marks the speaker as borderline educated, fair or not.

  • I would tend to disagree with two things or at least want to see sources provided for them. First, can you show how it arises from "new-age teaching guidelines"? Second, can you substantiate how it makes one appear "borderline educated"?
    – virmaior
    Commented Feb 20, 2014 at 16:20
  • Like @virmaior, I’d rather like to know what these “new-age teaching guidelines” are (teaching while listening to Enya?). I’ll also point out that “correct usage and grammar” does not mean what you seem to be implying it means. And “borderline educated” makes no sense at all—that would refer to someone who is just on the brink of being educated, but isn’t quite so yet. Commented Feb 20, 2014 at 16:42

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