'Inspire somebody with' vs 'Inspire something in somebody'

< Previous | Next >

cat2jackson

Senior Member
Russian
Hello everyone!

I am wondering if there is any subtlety of distinction between the following sentenses:

(1) His generous act inspires me with hope
(2) His generous act inspires hope in me.

Do the sentences given above actually express the same idea? Or there is a slight shade of distinction?

Thanks a lot!

Best Wishes,
Dmitry.
 
  • brian

    Senior Member
    AmE (New Orleans)
    Hi,

    I think the distinction is that (2) is acceptable, whereas (1) is not. I can't think of a sentence in which inspires me with X, in the sense of "inspiring me to have X", sounds good.

    The set of verbs that act the way you describe is quite limited. They're traditionally referred to as spray-load verbs:

    (3) He sprayed the door with red paint.
    (4) He sprayed red paint onto the door.

    (5) He loaded the truck with food.
    (6) He loaded food onto/into the truck.
     

    Thomas1

    Senior Member
    polszczyzna warszawska
    inspire
    [...]
    3 to make somebody have a particular feeling or emotion
    inspire somebody (with something)
    Her work didn't exactly inspire me with confidence.
    inspire something (in somebody)
    As a general, he inspired great loyalty in his troops.
    Source
    You'll find examples of "inspired * with hope" in literature.

    Taking into consideration the above, I'm having trouble understading why "inspired me with hope" is unacceptable. :confused:
     

    brian

    Senior Member
    AmE (New Orleans)
    The more I read it, the better it sounds, but I still don't think I'd ever actually use it. Understanding it is one thing, especially since I can derive its meaning by analogy with other spring-load verbs, but I think I'd always say inspired hope in someone.

    By the way, it looks like at least the first few pages of results are from the 19th century, so maybe its an older expression.
     

    Thomas1

    Senior Member
    polszczyzna warszawska
    The more I read it, the better it sounds, but I still don't think I'd ever actually use it. Understanding it is one thing, especially since I can derive its meaning by analogy with other spring-load verbs, but I think I'd always say inspired hope in someone.

    By the way, it looks like at least the first few pages of results are from the 19th century, so maybe its an older expression.
    They are actually all from the 20th century.

    Anyway, maybe this syntax is simply not used so much in your variant of English?
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    Taking into consideration the above, I'm having trouble understading why "inspired me with hope" is unacceptable. :confused:
    If "He inspired me with hope." means "He inspired hope in me.", what does "He inspired me with his sermon." mean? :eek:
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    I agree with Thomas - I think "he inspired me with hope" is fine. I'm not sure how likely I would be to say it, but it would certainly come more naturally than "he inspired hope in me". And I would definitely say "he didn't inspire me with confidence" rather than "he didn't inspire confidence in me". Maybe there is a 'language variety' issue here?
    If "He inspired me with hope." means "He inspired hope in me.", what does "He inspired me with his sermon." mean? :eek:
    The dictionary link given by Thomas in post 3 makes it clear that "inspired [me] with" can be used in two different ways:).
     

    brian

    Senior Member
    AmE (New Orleans)
    If "He inspired me with hope." means "He inspired hope in me.", what does "He inspired me with his sermon." mean? :eek:
    These sorts of verbs can still also combine with instrumental with-phrases:

    (7) He loaded the truck with food with a dolly.

    Sometimes they can be ambiguous:

    (8) He loaded the truck with dollies.

    In your sentence, since inspiring someone's sermon in someone else is a bit nonsensical, the instrumental meaning of the with-phrase is most prominent, and there is no ambiguity. However, in my opinion we can quite easily construct an ambiguous sentence:

    (9) He inspired me with love.

    To me, the most prominent meaning is that his love is what inspired me, and not that he inspired love in me, but I suppose Loob and others for whom inspire someone with is OK, the latter interpretation is available.

    They are actually all from the 20th century.
    That's odd. I did the same search at books.google.com (instead of .pl), and the first several pages of results are books from the 1800s.
     

    cat2jackson

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Thanks a lot! I am delighted with a huge number of replies that I've received, and impressed by their diversity. Now I've got a comprehensive understanding of the use of 'inspire with/in' in a variety of situations.

    Thanks.

    Dmitry.
     

    Irelia20150604

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    The dictionary link given by Thomas in post 3 makes it clear that "inspired [me] with" can be used in two different ways:).
    :D I'm also confronted with a "to inspire somebody with something" in Jane Eyre. Does the bold part mean "they had aroused my affection and admiration for them"?

    The quotation comes from Charlotte Brontë – Jane Eyre (Chap. 33) | Genius

    Quotation: I surveyed him. It seemed I had found a brother: one I could be proud of,—one I could love; and two sisters, whose qualities were such, that, when I knew them but as mere strangers, they had inspired me with genuine affection and admiration. The two girls, on whom, kneeling down on the wet ground, and looking through the low, latticed window of Moor House kitchen, I had gazed with so bitter a mixture of interest and despair, were my near kinswomen; and the young and stately gentleman who had found me almost dying at his threshold was my blood relation.
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top