Wednesday, 28 November 2012

By/With

To start, a side story:

When I was in high school I was a theatre kid. I remember one day, my friends and I were hanging out on stage during a rehearsal and talking about one of the other girls (in that stupid high school way). Specifically, her unhealthy fixation on one of the older boys. Her crush was huge and embarrassingly obvious to everyone. It was beyond awkward the way she would fawn over this guy. As is want to happen, the girl walked up to our group to join the conversation. We all fell quiet and tried to act natural. (Like you do when you've just been busted talking about someone.) She greeted us and asked what we were talking about. Without missing a beat, one of the boys simply replied "Calvin Klein". It was pure genius. It impressed me so much and still amuses me to no end.



Now the real point of this post is to tell you that, here in the UK, people are "obsessed BY" things. I'm used to being "obsessed WITH" stuff. Every time I hear it, it sounds strange to my ear, but it got me thinking. Isn't "by" actually just as, if not more, appropriate. In most cases, the thing that obsesses you isn't actually affected by your obsession. The WITH implies that there is some sort of mutual relationship. If I'm "totally obsessed with prosciutto, metallic ballet flats, or even Claudia Winkleman"- this food item/shoe/celebrity is completely unaffected by me and my obsession. In this case, I think I agree that "by" makes more sense. I'm am the object of enthralment. The object of my obsession is not "in" the obession "with" me at all!

That said, I don't imagine I'll be able to change my natural programming to say "by". And I reserve the right to freely say that I'm obsessed with my son and husband and their cuteness because that is a relationship. I like to think they're obessed right back.


What are your favourite obsessions?



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