+0
If I find myself wanting to say that I am 'enthralled to' something is this acceptable? I can find no occurrences of it being used in this way, but I do see that it's etymology means 'to enslave,' which is very nearly the way that I want to use it, but I prefer the nuance of the positive fascination that's implied by 'enthrall'.
1 2
Comments  
This word, when it associated with a preposition, is typically used with "with," "by," or "about." For example:

I'm enthralled about the new play.

I'm enthralled with his new novel.

I'm enthralled by her new fiancee.

"To" is also possible:

I'm enthralled to my core by his performance. (You can't say: "I'm enthralled to his performance.")
The word enthralled means "to be charmed," so it should be followed by the word "by": He was enthralled by the circus acts. The original meaning of the word was "to enslave," but it is very rarely, if ever, used this way now.
Teachers: We supply a list of EFL job vacancies
Wait but I'm not enthralled, in your example, to my core. That places 'my core' as the receiver of the action of the verb doesn't it? And I'm not enthralled to myself in this case I'm enthralled by the performance. I give that in this case the performance couldn't necessarily captivate a person, because a performance can't own the viewer. So I agree that I couldn't be 'enthralled to' his performance.

However, I'm wondering if one could say: "I was enthralled to him."

So in this case we're talking about fascination to the point of being owned. And since 'him' implies a person, a person capable of enthralling someone else, it seems logical that I could be enthralled to him.

I'd still like to know what you think. I'd just like to be able to kind of hash it out completely.
I think it's worth noting that the OED definition is "capture the fascinated attention of." My use might be antiquated, but the archaic meaning still lingers in its definition. 'Capture' is an obvious referral to that meaning. There's even an archaic usage of 'fascinate' that means to prohibit the escape of something (by means of 'a look or gaze').

It seems like it's implied that something is fascinating to the exclusion of everything else. That you are enslaved, in a sense, to the thing that your attention is fixed upon.

But in any event, I'm not sure how the common preposition that is used with one verb dictates that its synonym would take the same preposition.

My thinking is that by using 'enthralled to' rather than 'with' or 'by,' that the stronger, more possessive nuances of the word might be read.

But this is assuming that people won't just be confused, which I certainly don't want and which is why I am asking.
You can't say, "I was enthralled to him." From a purely technical-grammatical point of view, there should be no problem with saying this, but it is just not said in English - this is a usage rather than a grammatical issue. The reason is that over hundreds of years, certain ways of saying things have been established in English, to the exclusion of other ways. So it's okay to say:

He enthralls me.
I'm enthralled by him.
I'm enthralled with him.
I'm enthralled about him.
I'm enthralled over him.

But you can't say:

I'm enthralled to him.
I'm enthralled towards him.
I'm enthralled for him.
I'm enthralled in him.

There's no logical reason why you can't say the ones above. That's just the way things have evolved in the language.

Other examples:

You say:

I'm going to the store.

But you can't say, in the same sense as the above:

I'm going for the store.

There's no logical reason why you can't say this. That's just the way the usage has developed over hundreds of years.
Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?
Hmmm. Well I guess I'm going to go ahead and use it as I have it, since I can't find a better way to convey the subtlety of meaning I'm driving at.

And I'm still not convinced by the argument.

Of course we can mechanically, without error say that "I'm going for the store." But if you said that the understanding of the word 'for' would mean you were planning on bringing the store back with you or that you were going on behalf of the store or you were going because of the store. In which case you can in fact say "I'm going for the store."

I'm imaging some scene in a spaghetti Western. Two cowboys, saddled upon their restless mounts, stand in a cloud of dust in the midst of a wild shoot out. One prepares to part, saying to the other with a ominous glare, "I'm going for the store."

In this context he's going either going to go shoot up the store, loot the store, save the sheriff's conflicted and beautiful daughter from the gunfire, but in any case he's going to traverse space in that direction, because of something to do with the store.

If he said he was going to the store it might be kind of ironic or something, but it would sound like he was going there to get some shopping done. Which might contain a double-meaning, but wouldn't be as clear as him saying that he was going for the store.

'I'm enthralled over him,' and 'I'm enthralled about him,' which you say are acceptable --I just can't think of a good usage. Over and about both seem vague and I can't imagine the verb enthrall being a vague thing.

My feeling is that the point of subscribing to and worrying about the rules of grammar is not to repeat what has already been said necessarily, but to have clarity. A split infinitive, a dangling participle, those rules are rules because it's hard to understand the intent.

And I'm hoping, in fact I'm pretty confident that the sentence "I am enthralled to him," in the context I have it is readable, thus I'm just going to leave it.

But it's fun talking about it.
You cannot say "I'm enthralled to him.", in any context, in the English language. That's just not good English, and your English is good. This is not a grammar issue - grammatically there seems to be nothing wrong with it - this is a usage issue. Certain things are just not said in English - even though they seem to be grammatically feasible - and "I'm enthralled to him." is one of them.
Okay. I can accept that. It made me burst out in a laugh, perhaps because I went ahead with it, perhaps because I'm contrary by nature; but in any case, it's been fun hashing it out. Thanks so much for your perspective. It's truly appreciated.
Site Hint: Check out our list of pronunciation videos.
Show more