Hi everyone!



I am confused about using “surprised at”, “surprised about” and “surprised by."

I've been trying to know better about them, and found some “rules” on discussion forums, but I would like to make sure that they are valid for native English speakers. Could you please help me with this?



Rule 1.

surprised at: away from the surprised person

surprised by: toward the surprised person

(discussion source: http://www.englishforums.com/English/SurprisedAtByEtc/lxng/post.htm )

Q1: Is this rule valid for “most of the native English-speaker”?



Rule 2.

surprised at: suggest something has happened contrary to the way you expected

surprised by: suggests something you were not expecting at all.

-- they are largely interchangeable but the expression 'to be surprised at someone' - often expressing disappointment with their behavior - is usually always with 'at' rather than 'by'.

(discussion source: http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20080622071612AATGUmY )

Q2: Is this rule valid for “most of the native English-speaker”?

Q3: If it’s valid, can I use it for “events” too?



I could hardly find any discussion about “surprised about,” it is also the least use one. However, I noticed that people are more likely to use it seem when posting oneself’s opinions informally (on a forum, for example).

Q4: Do you have any comment on the usage of “surprised about?”

Q5: Does what I noticed mean that “surprised about” is a less formal expression, compared to “surprised at” and “surprised by”?



Q6: Is there any other rule in your mind, or any suggestion on the usage of these expressions?



Many thanks in advance!

New Member05
Anonymous:
I don't know how helpful this will be but:-

I'm surprised at you doing that.

I'm surprised that you did it.

I'm surprised by the findings.

I'm surprised about the answer.

I'm surprised at how quickly the time is going.

Some say surprised 'at' a person and surprised 'by' a thing but that is not a rule...
Anonymous:
i have a question: i'm very SURPRISED or CONCERNED about the news?
Anonymous:
If i say my boyfriend was surprised me this morning. Does it's true or not?
Anonymous:
You should say - My boyfriend suprised me this morning. Or , I was suprised by my boyfriend this morning
This is my two cents. As far as using prepoistions with the verb "surprosed", from an idiomatic point of view, not all preps work well with "surprised". The following is idiomatic:
I was pleasantly surprised by her sudden appearance.
I am surprised with / by her decision to quit her job.
They were unpleasantly surprised at the company annoucement to reduce head counts.

I am sure you will hear or see people who sue "about", "in" and other preps in conjunction of using "surprised". By memorizing sentences patterns may be helpful to some, but the real understanding comes from reading and listening to how natives speak.
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