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inform of vs. about

Discussion in 'English Only' started by squidink, Jun 9, 2008.

  1. squidink

    squidink Senior Member

    Venezuela, Spanish
    Hi, everyone.

    Which word is more correct here:

    Someone informed me of / about something that happened...?
     
  2. nzfauna

    nzfauna Senior Member

    Wellington, New Zealand
    New Zealand, English
    I guess either could be used. What is the something that happened?
     
  3. squidink

    squidink Senior Member

    Venezuela, Spanish
    For example, someone succumbing to illness, or someone's death.
     
  4. Forero Senior Member

    Houston, Texas, USA
    USA English
    I use that when I use a whole clause:

    Someone informed me that person x had succumbed to illness.
    Someone informed me that person x had died.

    I use of when I say the same whole idea but as a phrase:

    Someone informed me of person x's succumbing to illness.
    Someone informed me of person x's death.

    I use about when I leave out part of the information:

    Someone informed me about person x.
    (I am not saying whether person x did something or experienced something.)

    Someone informed me about what happened to person x.
    (I am not saying what it was that happened.)

    Here I was presumably told the same thing, but I am not repeating it all.
     
  5. squidink

    squidink Senior Member

    Venezuela, Spanish
    Thanks, Forero. That's really useful.
     
  6. Dr. Zamenhof Junior Member

    Mérida, Yucatán.
    Mexican Spanish
    I read somewhere once, that there is indeed a difference between the usage of both prepositions. "Of" deals with the 'happening' of the event and "about" deals more with the details about it. I'll quote the sentence I read––as I think it was a good example:

    The teacher will inform the students of the upcoming exam (THAT IT WILL HAPPEN [AND WHEN])
    The teacher will inform the students about the upcoming exam (DETAILS SURROUNDING IT)

    I'd still wait for the opinion of a L1 speaker to see if they also find the same subtle differences between the two.
     

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