Excited ABOUT, not “for”

By Maeve Maddox

Reader Alex has called my attention to a strange new usage with the word excited:

People say ‘excited for’ instead of ‘excited about’: “I’m excited for Avatar.” It sounds clearly wrong to me.

It sounds wrong to me as well. The phrase is being spread at a furious rate by entertainment writers.

Anyone getting excited for Dan Brown’s new novel – The Lost Symbol?? (gaming site)

Lions fans at Ford Field excited for Ndamukong Suh (sports site)

Kirstie Alley Excited for 17-Year-Old Son’s Wedding (celebrity gossip site)

A gaming site called NeoGAF seems especially determined to spread the abomination. Google tracks 8,190 examples from that site.

I can think of one context in which “for” instead of “about” following excited could be justified: when one is sharing a friend’s excitement. On the pattern of “I am happy for you,” one could say “I’m excited for you.”

Otherwise, standard usage calls for excited about, as in these examples in which the writers (including entertainment writers) got it right:

Why I Am Excited About the iPad

Rube Goldberg competition gets teens excited about STEM

Why you need to be excited about SpyParty

Rivers excited about RB prospects

Rolling Stone’s Reasons To Be Excited About Music

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20 Responses to “Excited ABOUT, not “for””

  • Ralph

    Continue on, is frequently used on radio and TV news. Is it considered redundant?

  • JC

    I always write “ADLs” as the abbreviation for “activities of daily living,” although the person proofreading my work always “corrects” me and writes ADL’s in red, insisting I make this change. I [also insist] the apostrophe is wrong, even if the rest of world continues to write this, and would much prefer not to perpetuate this pervasive error. Just needed to vent, and yours seemed an adequate forum.

  • Becky White

    What about “I’m excited for you?”

  • Lauren

    I adhere to the rules of grammar when they make sense to me, and they normally do. In this case though, I must admit, I actually prefer “excited for”; I think “excited about” and “excited for” should be used at the writer’s discretion.

  • Diane Farr

    I think Lauren must be joking. Words have meaning. Otherwise, what’s the point? Excited “for” is different from excited “about,” just as the columnist said. There’s nothing discretionary about it — once you have used your discretion considering what meaning you wish to convey, that is.

    While we’re on the subject, “wait for” is different from “wait on.” When you wait on someone, you SERVE them (waiting on tables, waiting on someone hand and foot, waiting on the Lord). Waiting “for” someone is, well, waiting for someone (Waiting for Godot, Waitin’ for the Robert E. Lee, etc.).

    I have spoken.

  • Grace

    I agree completely. ‘Excited for’ just sounds wrong, when it’s not ‘on behalf of’. There’s another one like this that is creeping in, and that’s ‘bored of’. Where did that come from? It sounds so wrong to me! Surely one is bored WITH something. I do think, however, that that one is more about the traditional usage than the grammar, whereas in the ‘excited’ case, ‘for’ can surely not be a correct substitute for ‘about’. It just doesn’t make sense.

  • Glynis

    I am in complete agreement with you, Maeve. There are other phrases of late that are similar and I can’t remember right at this moment but I do get a little upset about. Excellent article.

  • Lauren

    Diane Farr, I was NOT joking.

    By using either one at the writer’s discretion, I meant that the writer should decide which one works best for the “meaning they want to convey”. Thanks.

  • Cath

    What about “excited to go to the concert” instead of “excited about going to the concert”? I’m constantly hearing people say they are “excited to” do something rather than say they are “excited about” doing something. The former just sounds wrong to me.

  • Lady Banias

    what do I say confuse of or confuse with?

  • Diane

    Um … I’m confused BY that question, LOL as neither “with” nor “of” makes any sense.

  • Gills2

    quote- Cath on June 19, 2010 12:26 pm
    What about “excited to go to the concert” instead of “excited about going to the concert”? I’m constantly hearing people say they are “excited to” do something rather than say they are “excited about” doing something. The former just sounds wrong to me

    I agree – I see this usage creeping in everywhere

  • Ana

    quote- Cath on June 19, 2010 12:26 pm
    What about “excited to go to the concert” instead of “excited about going to the concert”? I’m constantly hearing people say they are “excited to” do something rather than say they are “excited about” doing something. The former just sounds wrong to me

    quote- Gills2 on February 10, 2011 8:01 pm

    I agree – I see this usage creeping in everywhere

    I am also seeing it everywhere and it’s driving me nuts! It’s true that languages are living, changing things, but it’s bl**dy annoying that changes are coming about because people are blithely unaware of correct usage.

  • Carol

    Good article. I work in the schools and all I hear now is “excited for” like somehow its ok to just change the english language? I am excited about being correct on this one!

  • Barbara

    I am a teacher and agree that the correct usage is “excited about”. I cringe when I hear fellow teachers say “excited for” and, in so doing, they are teaching that incorrect grammar to our students. The English language is being slaughtered in so many ways these days!

  • Sharon

    I correct this regularly. It’s crazy-making! You can be excited about something and excited for someone. “I’m excited about the party.” “I’m excited for you! You won the scholarship.” It has become so common, though, that it’s getting exhausting!!!

  • Stephen

    I have noticed the “excited for” being used on the radio, reporters on television, characters on television programs. I am baffled. How did this become so common? I am consistently correcting my daughter and her friends who regularly express excitement for…”the weekend” or “the concert”. My approach is to keep noting the mistake. I believe it is ignorance of correct usage. Glad to see it it is not just me.

  • Nick

    Ana, Cath, & Gills2,

    The use of both “excited to do something” and “excited about doing something” are correct. Here the use of “to” in the former is a part of the infinitive form of the verb “to do,” or in the case of going to a concert, “to go.”

    While you are certainly entitled to favor one over the other, neither are grammatically incorrect. The choice between the two is purely stylistic.

  • James

    There are clearly two different meanings in the phrases, “…excited for…” and “excited about”. It’s the lack of ability in some people to see this that surprises me more than its habitual use, which does seem to be quite new but spreading at an alarming rate. Speaking of things being different, how is it right to say “…different than…”?

  • Maeve

    James,
    “Different than” is discussed here: http://www.dailywritingtips.com/different-from-different-to-different-than/

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