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(1) The event left Bob confused.

(2) The event confused Bob.

Hi, Andrew—I don't want to start a debate with you about this, but I do see a subtle difference in meaning between them. In (1), Bob is in a state of confusion after the event. A close synonym of "confused" in (1) is "disoriented."

  • Landing in Alaska left Bob confused. He had thought the plane was in a totally different part of the world. He now wondered whether he had even been on the right plane.

In (2), Bob may or may not be in a state of confusion after the event. What we know is that the event did something of a confusing nature to him. Perhaps he now has an incorrect belief:

  • Landing in Alaska confused Bob. It was so bright outside that he thought it was the middle of the day, but it was really the middle of the night.

Maybe my context will let me get away with it; maybe my context makes the two synonymous.

Here's one version:

Chomsky cites a 17 September 2022 NYT piece that says that Putin’s restraint has baffled Western officials.

And here's another version:

Chomsky cites a 17 September 2022 NYT piece that says that Putin’s restraint has left Western officials baffled.

In this context are the two synonymous? I'm trying to switch from the former version to the latter because otherwise it would be verbatim and then I might have to put quotation marks and then it's not clear if I'm quoting Chomsky or the NYT so it gets confusing. So easier to just find a synonymous way to say it and avoid the need for quotation marks.

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