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Note 122 – Prepositions: of, with and by

Would you say ‘she is bored of her friend’, ‘she is bored with her friend ’ or ‘she is bored by her friend’?  I have learnt today that the first option ‘she is bored of her friend’ is not an example of good writing. 

Out of the prepositions of, with and by, the word of is “more properly used to indicate the relationship between a part and a whole”  writes Richard Bell in his ‘Red Editing Pen’ column (Writing Magazine Jan 2011).  He also adds that by is a “preposition more often used to indicate the relationship of an action”.  The word with, on the other hand, shows a relationship between one thing or another or one person and another.

Consider the examples below:

  • “A quarter of a pint” (good writing)
  • “Two slices of pie” (good writing)
  • “She is fed up with Harry” (good writing)
  • “She is fed up of Harry” (not so good writing)
  • “She was frightened by the roaring” (good writing)

Now it’s your turn – which sentence is an example of good writing?

  1. “They are bored of the film”
  2. “They are bored with the film”

Answers at the end of the blog…

My thoughts:  It’s amazing how the smallest of words can change the whole balance of the sentence. One other point I would like to mention is that when I used to read Richard Bell’s column, I never used to be able to work out the errors that he purposely put in there (he writes three sentences each magazine issue which require editing).  Today, when I got two out of three, I felt quite pleased with myself ; this writing challenge is really paying off, as I had covered the other two in previous blogs.  

That’s it for today. Don’t forget that you can subscribe to receive my daily blogs by email so that you don’t miss any. Just click ‘sign me up’ on the home page. Alternatively you can follow my blogs on Twitter!/madeirasandra or my new Tips and Luxuries Facebook page.  Requests for future blogs (punctuation/grammar/writing tips) are always welcome.

Until tomorrow…


My writing challenge:

This blog:

My other blog:

My website: (includes the introduction to my upcoming book ‘A Gift for Stressed and Busy Parents’)

Twitter: @madeirasandra and @tipsandluxuries

Reference list:

Richard Bell, Red Editing Pen column (Writing Magazine, P13, Jan 2011)

Answers to test:

“They are bored with the film” is an example of good writing.


About Sandra Madeira

I am a full-time working mum with a passion for writing and inspiring others. Subjects I tend to blog about are life skills, parenting, decluttering, worklife balance, etc. At the moment I am on a decluttering mission creating space in my house, garden and mind. I have challenged myself to do at least ten minutes a day and write about it. Have a good day! Sandra Freelance Writer


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