Inspired BY or FROM? Which is the correct preposition?

We usually use the preposition “by” with the verb “to inspire”. There are certain instances when you can use other prepositions(and verbs) with “inspire” but when you want to place emphasis on your inspiration, we use “inspired by”.


I am always inspired by the work of Bob Dylan.

You could say that my work was inspired by those who came before me.

Inspired By

We use the preposition “by” with a verb or an adjective to show who performed the action. In this case it is the person doing the “inspiring”.Notice that we often use “inspire” in the passive voice and that is why we use “by”.

To form the passive voice we use the verb “to be + past participle”. So you say “I am inspired by…” or in the past tense “I was inspired by…”


The painter was inspired by the Mourne Mountains.

I was inspired by Leonard Cohen to become a poet. 

We can also drop the “by” when there is no one noun that does the inspiring

I felt inspired.

Read more about the passive and the active voice here

Inspired in the active voice

When we use “inspired” in the active voice we often use an infinitive after the verb inspire or the preposition “with”. 


You inspired me to write my own book.

That doesn’t exactly inspire me with confidence. 

Notice the position of the person that does the “inspiring” and the receiver of the inspiration. Now, we have a regular sentence where the “doer” is the subject of the sentence. Also remember that “inspire” is a “transitive verb” which means that there must be an object(a receiver) which is “me” in the examples above. 

Inspired From

We don’t usually use “inspired from” in English and most likely you will need to use “inspired by”.

Inspired With

We can use “inspired with” when we use “inspire” in the active voice. 

You inspired me with your beautiful voice.

Inspired In

We only use “inspired in” when the following phrase needs the preposition “in” “Inspire” and “in” are not connected in these sentences.

You inspired me in so many ways. 

Inspired On

“Inspired on” is incorrect and I often see mistakes around the web where the correct preposition should be “inspired by”.

The building was inspired on Mexican architecture.

The building was inspired by Mexican architecture.

Inspired Through

We use “inspired through” when we want to discuss the means of how we inspire other people.

You inspired me through your charity work. 

Final Thoughts

Most of the time you will use the preposition “by” with “inspire” except when you use “inspire” in the active voice. We often use the passive voice with inspire because the person who receives the “inspiration” is more important in the sentence than the person/thing that performs the action.