excited for

Often there doesn’t seem to be much logic to the idiomatic use of prepositions in English, and sometimes English uses a different preposition from other languages. So it’s not surprising that there’s quite a bit of variation in usage. Language Log is currently revisiting bored with/of/by and I recently spat out my cornflakes over “appreciate of”, but I thought I’d take a look at excited about/for. On Language Log, Mike Kelly comments:

What does sound odd to me… is my kids’ use of “excited for” where I would use “excited about,” e.g, “I’m excited for Thursday,” “I’m excited for the game,” I’m excited for having a day off.”

According to Google, a lot of people were/are excited about The Sims 3:

“excited about (The) Sims 3” 122,000

“excited for (The) Sims 3” 100,000

“excited with (The) Sims 3” 160

“excited by/of (The) Sims 3” 1 apiece

“excited at/to (The) Sims 3” nil

To an oldie like me, “excited for” means something different from “excited about” (Compare happy about and happy for), but never mind: another useful distinction has kicked the bucket. A few more comparisons:

“excited about Twitter” 327

“excited for Twitter” 8

“excited about Myspace” 47

“excited for Myspace” 7

“excited about Facebook” 230

“excited for Facebook” 16

“excited about the wedding” 818 “…marriage” 209

“excited for the wedding” 838 “…marriage” 19

“excited about the couple” 54

“excited for the couple” 69

The latter comparison is somewhat different from the others because it has been more usual to be excited for people than about them. I can test that with some Google hit ratios:

excited about/for it 58:8

excited about/for that 28:7

excited about/for her 14:6

excited about/for him 8:4.5

excited about/for us 8:6

p.s. Hey, Google, your hit counts are STILL broken. When are you ever going to fix them??


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