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 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.
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.