Anger…

AngryHave you ever paused at the word ‘angry’ and wondered whether it should be followed by ‘with’ or ‘at’ or ‘about’?

A good rule of thumb is: you’re angry with a person, but angry at/about a situation.

I was angry with my son because he broke my favourite vase.

I was angry with King Arthur because he left my cakes out in the rain.

He was angry about the situation in Iraq

He was angry at the way the dog had been mistreated.

You can also be ‘angered by’, but this is similar to about/at, in that one is angered by a situation rather than a person.

She was angered by the lack of response to her party invitation.

She was angered by her daughter’s unwillingness to help her with the chores.

However, language evolves, and consequently, ‘angry at’ for use with a person isn’t necessarily wrong and is becoming more acceptable.

I find to avoid any confusion or doubt, it’s simpler to keep ‘with’ for people and ‘about/at’ for things. You could, of course, avoid the problem altogether and ensure that your characters are always happy and never angry about anything at all, and the world of fiction would be a peaceful and calm place. (Nah, that really would be pushing the imagination!)

Author: Cathy Speight

Reviewer Cathy Speight is British and lives in England. The Kindle revived her passion for reading and after stumbling on a Facebook group of independent authors, she now does her best to encourage and assist indies as much as possible. Books by indie author form the majority of her collection. Cathy shares her views on the books she has read on her blog.

4 thoughts on “Anger…”

  1. Good one, Cathy. One that I hear, and see, all the time now is “bored of” instead of “bored with”. It’s like fingernails on a chalkboard to me. But I think it’s becoming acceptable, too.

      1. That’s almost as bad as ‘must of’, a phrase that so many slack speakers deliver these days – as in ‘I must of missed that’ or ‘ I must of misheard you, like’
        When one hears the Prime Minister saying this it makes one despair for the nation’s standards, but it perhaps explains why so much of our education system is failing the children.
        Sloppy speech like that really winds me up.

        And by the way Cathy, aren’t you mixing up King Arthur and King Alfred? It was Alfred who had cake issues; Arthur was the one who got his sword stuck in a rock and ended up flinging it into a mere.

        1. I think you’re right, Ian. I had the song MacArthur Park in my head (Richard Harris), so I got my Arthurs and Alfreds in a muddle. I think the expression I’m after is ‘Duh’.

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