Prepositions change the meaning of words all the time in English. This article will look at the differences between using “angry at” and “angry with” and how the simple words “at” and “with” change the overall meaning or tone.
Should I Use “Angry At” Or “Angry With”?
You should use “angry at” when not aiming your anger towards a particular person, but rather a particular event or thing that happened (i.e., “I’m angry at the weather”). You should use “angry with” when you’re aiming your anger towards one person (i.e., “are you angry with me?”)
The definition of “angry,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “having a strong feeling against someone who has behaved badly, making you want to shout at them or hurt them.”
What Does It Mean To Be Angry At Or With?
Let’s go over the meanings slightly closer. Once you’ve understood how the prepositions directly affect the meaning of “angry,” you’ll have a much better overall understanding of how to use them.
“Angry at” means we’re angry at a thing or event, while “angry with” means we’re angry with a person for doing something.
The exact context varies based on what made you angry in the first place. To be angry at something means it has aggravated you to a point where you can’t get over it. To be angry with someone means they’ve done something that’s usually caused you to get annoyed.
Is “Angry At” Or “Angry With” Used The Most?
According to Google, “angry at” is mentioned 10,300 times on The New York Times website, while “angry with” is mentioned 4,590 times.
Clearly, “angry at” is more popular when you look on The New York Times website. However, those numbers seem to contradict the following graph results:
In the above graph, “angry with” is the most popular choice. It’s grown at a much faster rate in the last few decades than “angry at” as well.
The exact reason for this isn’t clear. However, it could be due to people preferring how the preposition “with” sounds after the word “angry.” It might also simply be related to finding it easier to be angry at people than it is to be angry at events or things.
Can “Angry At” And “Angry With” Ever Be Used Interchangeably?
While the two words have different meanings, that doesn’t mean they’re entirely different words. After all, the root word is still “angry,” so the overall meaning is still the same.
We can use “angry at” and “angry with” interchangeably whenever we want to. No native speaker is going to question it if you say you’re “angry at” someone or “angry with” a thing or event.
Here are some examples to help you out. First, we’ll look at the original meanings we’ve covered in this article:
- I’m angry at this school!
- I’m angry with you!
Now, we’ll look at using them the other way around:
- I’m angry with this school.
- I’m angry at you!
We can use “with” or “at” in both cases and still attain the original meaning. It’s more common to hear “angry with” a thing rather than “angry at” a person, but all of the above examples are correct to some degree.
Examples Of How To Use “Angry At” In A Sentence
We’ll return to the original meanings of the phrases now that we covered earlier. From there, we can share example sentences with you that shows you how best to use the phrase.
“Angry at” means we’re mad at a thing or event that happened. Usually, it refers to something outside of our control, and we do not attribute the problem to one specific person.
- I’m angry at all the bad things that have gone wrong in my life!
- He’s angry at the weather; you can tell by his eyes.
- They’re angry at the school, though I’m not sure why.
- We’re angry at the team because they lost the game.
- You always get angry at things that aren’t even relevant!
- I get angry at the simplest of things.
Examples Of How To Use “Angry With” In A Sentence
“Angry with” means we’re mad at somebody or a group of people in particular. Usually, they’ve done something to cause us harm or to annoy us.
- I’m angry with you, and there’s nothing you can do to change that.
- I know you’re angry with me, but can we at least talk?
- We’re angry with each other, though I don’t remember why.
- They’re angry with him because he wouldn’t share his lunch.
- She’s angry with her best friend because they both like the same guy.
- I’m not angry with you anymore.
Which Other Prepositions Can Be Used After “Angry”?
You might come across some other prepositions after “angry,” though these are much less common than the typical “at” or “with.”
You can use “angry on” when you want to talk about something that you’re on while you’re angry. It refers to a physical thing that you’re inside of.
- I’m angry on the boat.
- He’s angry on his own.
You can use “angry in” when you want to talk about the ways in which you are angry with someone.
- I’m angry in more ways than one.
- I’m angry in so many ways.
You can use “angry by” if you want to attribute your anger to a particular factor, though it’s very rare and is usually easier to use “angry at” or “angry with.”
- I’m angry by my own hands.
- I’m angry by no fault of your own.
You can use “angry through” in the same way as “angry by,” but it’s even less common.
- I’m angry through no fault of your own.
Angry – Synonyms
Finally, let’s look at some synonyms and alternatives that we might be able to use instead of “angry.”
These are some of the best synonyms, and as you can see, you’re spoiled for choice! All of these work really well if you want to convey your anger in a slightly different way.