What's the difference between be surprised by and be surprised at?

please let me know the difference by giving me some example sentences,if possible!
I'd appreciate it so much! ))
11 years ago
Asked 11 years ago
Yun mi

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'to be surprised at' suggests something has happened contrary to the way you expected.
'to be surprised by' suggests something you were not expecting at all.
'I was surprised at John; I never expected him to tell lies'.
'I was surprised by John - he took me out for dinner to celebrate my birthday'

As one person has said, they are largely interchangeable but the expression 'to be surprised at someone' - often expressing disappointment with their behaviour - is usually always with 'at' rather than 'by'.
Answered 11 years ago
English Teacher

They can be synonyms, but there is a shade of difference.

When you say
I was surprised by his behavior

it is the passive voice, like saying
his behavior surprised me, or
his behavior took me by surprise.

When you say
I am surprised at you

there is slightly more of a judgmental cast to it,
implying that you had expected better from him.

And then of course there is the original meaning.

The army was surprised by the snipers lying in wait for them.
Answered 11 years ago

The word surprise by its very nature is a non progressive verb (in most cases) and therefore you will see it used in passive forms. Those forms will be followed by at or by - in those cases either the preson or thing does the action.


I am so surprised at/by her behavior.
I am really surprised at what I have seen/by what I have seen.

by/at expresses the same idea. No difference.
Answered 11 years ago

I was surprised dash his behavior
Answered 5 years ago

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