Prepositions are important building blocks in English. They may be small words, but they often come with a subtle difference in meaning for certain words that they come after. In this article, we’ll go through the differences between “fascinated by” and “fascinated with.”
What Is The Difference Between “Fascinated By” And “Fascinated With”?
“Fascinated by” should be used when talking about something that grabs our attention while not necessarily taking part in it (“fascinated by world-class athletics”). “Fascinated with” should be used when talking about a more direct engagement with an activity (“fascinated with computer science”).
Generally, it’s possible to use “fascinated by” in the same way that we use “fascinated with,” meaning that we’re talking about something we’re actively participating in grabbing our attention.
However, it’s not possible to be “fascinated with” things that we’re “fascinated by,” as the “with” implies a direct relationship and engagement with the thing.
What Preposition Comes After Fascinated?
Let’s look at some of the prepositions choices that come after fascinated as a word and see why the meaning is affected in such a way.
We use “fascinated with” to talk about things that we’re taking part in. Usually, we will talk about a hobby or something similar that grabs and maintains our attention.
- I’m fascinated with computers. (This means you work with computers and enjoy learning about them).
- I’m fascinated with rocks. (This means you have a hobby collecting or studying rocks).
A direct relationship is always implied when using “with.”
We use “fascinated by” to talk about things that we’re viewing from the outside. These things may still grab our attention, but we don’t have to take part in them to be fascinated.
- I’m fascinated by computers. (How computers work is a fascinating idea, but we might not know a thing about them or may not want to learn more).
- I’m fascinated by rocks. (We might think rocks look cool or have interesting histories, but again, we’re not interested in getting involved.
Generally, there aren’t any other prepositions that we would use after “fascinated,” so we can’t explain anymore.
What Does “Fascinated By” Mean?
We’ve already touched on what “fascinated by” means when we use “by” as a preposition, but let’s go a bit further and give you something to refer back to when the time comes.
“Fascinated by” means that something grabs and holds your interest. Generally, you don’t have a direct relationship or reason to get involved with the interest, and you’re more than happy to stay as an outside observer, enjoying it but not getting involved.
It’s common for people to be “fascinated by” world-class sports, where they won’t ever actually play at a high enough level, but they love to watch it because it brings them joy. Some people don’t even play the sports they watch, which works even better when explaining how to use “fascinated by.”
How Do You Use “Fascinated By” In A Sentence?
Let’s go over some examples of how we might use “fascinated by” in a sentence. We’ll also include the context after it because it will help to understand what we mean by being “outside” of the hobby.
- I’m fascinated by cars. (This means that we’re fascinated by how cars work or how they look but haven’t taken the time to learn more about them).
- He’s fascinated by football. (This means he is highly engaged with football but doesn’t play or take part himself).
- You’re fascinated by things you can’t understand. (This means that someone is happy to be engaged in things even when they don’t understand them).
- I’m fascinated by video games. (Again, we might not play video games, but the idea of them is engaging).
- We’re fascinated by what you have to say. (Here, “we” aren’t the ones saying anything, but we’re saying that whatever someone else will say is “fascinating” to us).
- I’m fascinated by technology. (We might not know much about technology, but we can appreciate how well it works).
- I’m fascinated by music. (We don’t play instruments or sing, but we can appreciate good music).
Is “Fascinated With” Correct?
“Fascinated with” is correct to use and is the only other preposition form we can use after “fascinated.”
We can use “fascinated with” in a sentence when we want to show that we appreciate something. Usually, we’re involved in that thing, or it’s a hobby of ours.
What Is The Meaning Of “Fascinated With”?
“Fascinated with” means that something engages you directly. Generally, we use it when talking about something that we’re interested in that we also spend a lot of time learning more about or getting better at.
It’s most common to hear “fascinated with” used when talking about direct hobbies that someone has. Usually, the idea is that we want to learn more about our hobbies to make ourselves better at them and to give us further enjoyment.
Sometimes, using “fascinated with” to talk about a hobby shows someone else that we don’t understand why we’re so obsessed with it. It’s used to say that something grabs our attention, but we’re not sure what.
How Do You Use “Fascinated With” In A Sentence?
Let’s finish with some example sentences. Just like we did with “fascinated by,” we’ll make sure to include some context, so you know when “with” is the better of the two prepositions to use.
- I’m fascinated with my job. (This one is simple because we’re talking about a job we have and thus understand what we’re doing).
- I’m fascinated with all things electronic. (This means we’ve spent time learning about how electronics work, and it excites us).
- We’re fascinated with local politics. (This means that someone has taken the time to learn about local politics, rather than just observing them).
- You’re fascinated with mathematics; I can see that. (This means that someone is really engaged during math lessons).
- I’m fascinated with space. (This means someone has spent time learning about space).
- I’m fascinated with music. (Generally, using this means music captures us, and we typically play an instrument or sing to demonstrate this).
- I’m fascinated with cars. (Again, we know a lot about how cars work and use this to show how excited we are about them).
Martin holds a Master’s degree in Finance and International Business. He has six years of experience in professional communication with clients, executives, and colleagues. Furthermore, he has teaching experience from Aarhus University. Martin has been featured as an expert in communication and teaching on Forbes and Shopify. Read more about Martin here.