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Enamored With, By or Of?

 

A graphic of a Shakespearian actor with the quote: "methought I was enamour'd of an ass" from Midsummer Night's Dream

One of our readers was confused by the use of enamored by rather than enamored of (British enamoured). As they explained, the only usage of “enamored” that sounds correct to them is the phrase “enamored of,” which can be found in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream: “Methought I was enamour’d of an ass.”

Of, With or By?

There is another preposition that is acceptable with the word enamored. It’s not by, though; it’s with. The quickest way to remember the difference is that enamored of usually has a romantic connotations, while enamored by is more of a fascination.

However, it is worth noting that both are generally acceptable.

Having said that, for those wanting to make a distinction, here are a couple of examples:

  • Travelers were enamored with the town. (Fascination)
  • A lovely girl of whom he was enamored. (Romantic)

You can use the verb enamor transitively. For instance, “Rose enamored Dr. Ludgate.” This example means that Rose affected Dr. Ludgate in a way that made him fall in love with her. However, you don’t see this usage too often. Instead, it’s usually a passive verb: “Dr. Ludgate was enamored of Rose.” As you can see, the meaning here is that Dr. Ludgate was in love with Rose. 

Enamored By

Enamored by has a difference meaning. An English professor at Washington State University named Paul Brians has a helpful trick to understand it. Think of it this way: If you’re crazy about ferrets, then you’re enamored with them. It’s also acceptable to say you’re enamored of them, but if you say you’re enamored by ferrets, then that means the ferrets are crazy about you.

A graphic explaining the difference between enamoured with, of or by. Of - romanic, With - fascination, By - the subject is the being enamoured.

Main Takeaways

Here’s another way to choose between of and with when using the word enamored:

  • When you’re talking about romantic love, use “enamored of,” as in, “Romeo was enamored of Juliet.”
  • When referring to interest or fascination in something, use “enamored with,” as in, “Dylan is enamored with his new iPhone.”
  • As for “enamored by,” remember the earlier example with the ferrets.

 

 

Posted by Jessica Allen
By Jessica Allen

I am a full-time freelance writer and editor, and I’m passionate about producing and enhancing content. I’ve loved the English language, reading, and writing for as long as I can remember, and I dreamed of becoming a writer from the time I was in elementary school. Now, I've made my writing dreams a reality and earned a Bachelor’s degree in English and Spanish. During my college years, I spent time refining my writing skills in both languages before making the decision to write full-time in 2020.

3 comments on “Enamored With, By or Of?”

  • Methinks there is a typo in the second bullet of the “Main Takeways”. Should it not be “Dylan is enamored with his new iPhone.”?

  • Having read this I thought it was very enlightening. I appreciate you taking the time and energy to put this information together. I once again find myself personally spending way too much time both reading and commenting. But so what, it was still worth it!

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