Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Posted by Laurel Garver on Tuesday, July 19, 2011 10 comments
Dear Editor-on-Call,

Is "bored of" a proper phrase? I thought it was "bored with."

Regards,
Interested in bored
(aka Valerie Keiser Norris)

Dear Interested,
You're correct. The standard American idiomatic use is "bored with." Oxford says "bored by" is also correct. I couldn't find any evidence that "bored of" is the idiom in other anglophone counties. (There are a number of phrases in which the idioms do differ, such as "different." Americans say "this is different FROM that" while the Europeans say "this is different TO that".)

The nonstandard use "bored of" appears to have been picked up from parody/punning titles. For example, the title "Bored of Education," as a pun on "Board of Education" has appeared in numerous places, from an Our Gang short in the 1930s (see photo) to an album title by the hip-hop band Brooklyn Academy in 2008 (reference: Maeve Maddox, Daily Writing Tips). A 1969 parody of Tolkien's fantasy series was titled Bored of the Rings.

The lesson in all this? Take care to use a reputable source when you check your grammar. A google search is likely to turn up just as many misuses of grammar as correct uses.

Are there any phrases like bored of/with that confuse you?

10 comments:

  1. The internet can be tricky and it's sometimes difficult to know if the source is reliable. Do you have any grammar books that you could recommend? :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Jade: Strunk and White is nice and concise, though they are a bit stodgy at times. I really like Woe is I: A grammaphobe's guide to better English in plain English by Patricia O'Conner because it makes grammar fun and memorable.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I hear "bored of" a lot, rather than "bore with," when people speak.

    ReplyDelete
  4. That's why I like to make up my own grammar rules, then I'm never wrong :).

    ReplyDelete
  5. Oh man, I know there are phrases I have seen before, but I can't think of any right now. This was a good one!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thanks! I will check that one out. :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Bish; I wonder if this a regionalism. I've never heard it.

    JEM: "O God, I could be bounded in a nutshell, and count myself a king of infinite space"
    --Hamlet

    ReplyDelete
  8. Abby: I think the "bored of" might be a regionalsim--it's not one I've ever heard. But I do find it interesting to track where nonstandard uses come from.

    Jade: You're welcome. O'Conner's book is great.

    Elle: glad you found it useful

    ReplyDelete
  9. I too hear I'm bored of like Bish. Very interesting!

    ReplyDelete