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The following is from BBC web site.



Notice anything different? Find out about changes to the BBC News website


What is the special function of "about" in here? Shall we not have the same meaning if we just say "Find out the changes to ...?"


Your comments will be appreciated.

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FandorinBut I'm also wondering whether I can say or not: I found out the changes in his behaviour.
Me, too! Now you've even got a native speaker spinning his wheels over this question! I wouldn't say it. You can only "find out" facts, it seems to me.

It seems to me that "to find out" can be quite a troublesome phrasal verb.

You can find out the truth about something, find out about something, find out that something is true, find out [if / whether / why / where / when / how] something is true, find out who did something, find out what caused something.

But it seems odd (without always being completely incorrect) to find out something directly, i.e., a noun other than "truth" (or something similar) after "find out", e.g., ?find out the changes ..., ?find out the meaning of ..., ?find out the purpose of ..., ?find out a way to ..., ?find out [the time / the place] that ..., ?find out [the person / the thing] that ..., ?find out the method for ..., etc.

You certainly can't find out anything remotely like a physical object or natural phenomenon. You can't *find out the table, *find out a sunset, *find out the committee, *find out a forest, *find out a bridge, etc.

Does that help? Emotion: smile
CJ

P.S. I noticed the changes in his behavior. (Sometimes you have to switch to another verb.)
Alternately, I found out that his behavior had changed.

P.P.S. That's why you can only find out (facts) about changes to the BBC website, not find out the changes directly. (Something vaguely like "facts" is implied in "find out about".)
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Comments  
No. 'Find out the changes' is not natural. 'About' is a preposition. The prepositional phrase 'about changes...website' is an adverbial complement.
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"about" suggests that you will find explanatory and background information, rather than just a bald list of things that have changed. Even if this is not really the case, "about" nevertheless acts as a padding word that helps to "soften" the sentence and make it seem more friendly and inviting.
Thanks MM and Mr Wordy.

However, let me admit it franky -- I am still unable to make out the difference between "find out" and "find out about", if there is any.

Would you please give a few examples?
Hi guys.

I've found out recently that sharks can feel blood farther than few kilometres' distance from where it really is. (You have discovered it).

Find out about the changes in the schedule, else you might miss you exams.

In your example, as Mr.Wordy mentioned, you can discover something more than just the changes. My Collins CoBuild says find out something and find out about something are interchangeable, though. Is that just a question of conveying thougths and manner of speaking?

But I'm also wondering whether I can say or not: I found out the changes in his behaviour.
Does it sound unnatural? What if I put about there?

Thank you in advance.
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 CalifJim's reply was promoted to an answer.
Yes, it does! Find out in that context approximates to "perceive" or "realize" or "make out" in some sense, doesn't it?

Thank you so much, CJ.[Y]

By the way -
CalifJimNow you've even got a native speaker spinning his wheels over this question!
Does it mean I forced even a native speaker to get into it? Emotion: wink
Spinning wheel is sort of a wooden machine that people used in their homes to make thread from wool, in former times. That's why I'm confused.
The reference is to trying to drive your car off a slippery patch of ice or mud. The wheels spin, but you don't get anywhere. You are stuck! It's an idiom that expresses a lot of activity, but no progress! That is, the wheels in my brain were spinning, but it took me a while before I got "out of the mud" and wrote my answer. Emotion: smile

CJ

Actually, now that I think about it, it wasn't exactly the most appropriate idiom for the situation because I did finally make some progress by answering the post.
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CalifJim It's an idiom that expresses a lot of activity, but no progress! That is, the wheels in my brain were spinning, but it took me a while before I got "out of the mud" and wrote my answer.
Emotion: big smile That's me. I hope I'm not so imperceptive to make people spin wheel. I'm just used to digging up until the truth comes up. And you have clarified the confusion in a blink of an eye.
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