Podcast #130 Prepositions with Adjectives (9)

Published in the category Grammar and Usage, Prepositions with Adjectives

satisfied with

When you are satisfied with something, that means it meets your standards or expectations. It is sufficiently good. It is acceptable

He was satisfied with his daughter’s grades.

Are you satisfied with this hotel?


scared of/by/for

To be scared means to experience fear. Scared of means about the same as afraid of. When you have a general fear of something, even if you have never encountered it, you are scared of that thing.

She won’t get on a ladder. She is scared of heights.

Many people are scared of snakes.

I wish I wasn’t so scared of public speaking.

Don’t cry. You have nothing to be scared of.


When you are scared by something, you actually have a specific experience that scares you at the time. You can also be scared by an event because it may create a situation that you feel is dangerous.

The child was scared by the dog’s barking.

She was scared by the sound of bears near the tent.

People today are scared by their loss of privacy.

He was scared by the political unrest in his city.


If you are afraid that something bad may happen to another person, you are scared for that person

The audience was getting nasty. I was scared for the performers.

My sister is drinking way too much. I am scared for her.


To be scared for the future means to have fears about the future.

Climate change has me very worried. I am scared for the future.

There is so much corruption. I am scared for the future of the country.


shocked at/by

Shocked at and shocked by can mean surprised and upset. They can be used pretty much interchangeably. However, shocked at draws the listeners attention to the thing that does the shocking; shocked by emphasizes the emotional reaction of the person who is shocked. It is a pretty common phrase.

I was shocked at the teacher’s behavior.

I was shocked by the teacher’s behavior.

He was shocked at the newspaper report.

He was shocked by the newspaper report.


Shocked at and shocked by can mean being very offended by something that is considered morally offensive or unacceptable in decent society.

She was shocked by the language used in the film.

She was shocked at the language used in the film.


surprised at/by

Surprised at and surprised by are interchangeable, like shocked at and shocked by.

Aren’t you surprised at her attitude?

Aren’t you surprised by her attitude?

We were surprised at the low electricity bill.

We were surprised by the low electricity bill.


When someone acts in a negative way that you did not expect, you can say I’m surprised at you as a kind of criticism or expression of disappointment.. You cannot be surprised by in this usage.

You said you would help me paint the house, but you never showed up. I’m surprised at you.

Your sister started crying just because you got angry with her? I’m surprised at her.


short of

You use the construction short of to mean temporarily having very little of something. In the second and third sentences that you hear, notice the use of the constructions growing short of and getting short of, which mean the same thing.

I would like to give you a loan. But I’m short of money myself.

You children better improve your behavior. I am growing short of patience.

The hill was very steep and difficult to climb. She was getting short of breath.

Make a comment

The ESL Aloud podcast lessons are designed for people who want to increase their abilities in speaking English as a second language (ESL).