General Writing and Grammar Help/Mad AT - mad WITH

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Question
Dear Ted:

Which of the following is correct: "to be mad AT someone" or "to be mad WITH someone"?

If both are possible, do they have the same meaning?

If not, when should I use each of them?

Would you please give me some examples?

Also, is it possible to "GET mad at or with someone"?

Thank you very much for your kind help.

Paolo

Answer
Dear Paolo:

Which of the following is correct: "to be mad AT someone" or "to be mad WITH
someone"?

If both are possible, do they have the same meaning?

*** The correct expression is "to be mad AT someone."  That person is the object of your anger.  I do not see how you can be MAD WITH someone.  The preposition "with" indicates an accompaniment, such as "toast and jelly" is like "toast WITH jelly."  When you are mad, it is highly unlikely that you would have another person join in WITH you.

If not, when should I use each of them?

Would you please give me some examples?

*** John was MAD AT Jack; they got into an argument at the soccer game.

*** When Jill is depressed, she is MAD AT the world.

Also, is it possible to "GET mad at or with someone"?

*** You can GET MAD AT someone, but not WITH someone

Incidentally, Paolo, even though almost everyone uses the word "mad," it is not the correct word to use.  "Mad" refers to the unbalanced state of one's mind.  A MAD person is insane.

The correct word to use -- and so many people do NOT use it -- is "angry."   Bill is angry at John, because of the lies John told all their friends.

Ted

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Ted Nesbitt

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I am the bibliographic instruction and reference librarian at a public college. Some members of the English department recommend me to their students. I offer assistance in grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and paragraph development. My master`s thesis concerns William Faulkner`s tragic novels. I formerly taught advanced placement English at two schools in the Philadelphia area.

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I have been one of the highest-ranked volunteers in this category for more than a decade.

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B. A. and M. A in English; MSIS in Library & Information Sciences; graduate study in philosophy

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