Attracted by?

Who can tell me what is the difference between “attracted to” and “attracted by”?


Thanks in advance here.

I don’t think there’s really much difference.

When I hear, “Tom was attracted to Glenda,” I think that Tom likes Glenda and wants to be near her for some reason. The main focus is on the emotion within him.

When I hear, “Tom was attracted by Glenda,” I think it can mean that something about Glenda, or something she did, made Tom like her and want to be near her. The focus is more on something about her, rather than on what’s in his mind.

The bees are attracted to the fruit. = The bees like the fruit, and that’s why they came here.

The bees are attracted by the fruit. = The fruit gave off a smell or something, and that brought the bees here.

This is a very subtle difference, though, and another native speaker might tell you something different.

Difficult question, as both phrases are often used indistinctively.

If you are attracted by something/someone, you are interested in them, you like or even admire them.

Whereas 'to be attracted to’ implies more of a material or physical reaction.

So, I wouldn’t say that ‘she is attracted by him’ means exactly the same as ‘she is attracted to him’. To me, the former means that she likes him and the latter indicates that she is physically/sexually attracted to him.

At least, that’s how I understand it. Yet it would be interesting to have other opinions as well.

I didn’t see Jamie’s reply. It took me longer to write mine, apparently. Anyway I think that non native speakers’ opinions can also be interesting.

I see. Thanks.

Hi cooliegirly,

I thought I might just add something more to the attracted to/by comments. I think that with by the force or attraction is created by the agent as in: A moth is attracted by the light of a candle. When you say: A moth is attracted to the light of a candle - this is really to do with the subject’s propensity or inclination.