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Thread: easy question

  1. #1
    Pawel Guest

    Default easy question

    Hello!
    I'm sure that my question will be very easy to you, but it really makes me confused. :?
    Here are some examples:
    - "community leader" / "leader of community"
    - "memo writing" / "writing of memo"
    - "city centre" / "centre of city"
    I'm not quite sure when I should use the first construction and when the other. Please, explain it to me and give more examples. Thanks in advance.

    I believe my questions will be more complicated soon :) :D

  2. #2
    Tdol is online now Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default

    With your examples I'd use 'of the'- the centre of the city, etc. 'Centre of city' and the others don't work. 'Of' for a possessive tends to be used in fairly formal constructions- the Queen of England, etc. In 'comunity leader', 'community' functions like an adjective describing the kind of leader the person is, rather than a possessive.

  3. #3
    MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    Default Re: easy question

    Quote Originally Posted by Pawel
    Hello!
    I'm sure that my question will be very easy to you, but it really makes me confused. :?
    Here are some examples:
    - "community leader" / "leader of community"
    - "memo writing" / "writing of memo"
    - "city centre" / "centre of city"
    I'm not quite sure when I should use the first construction and when the other. Please, explain it to me and give more examples. Thanks in advance.

    I believe my questions will be more complicated soon :) :D
    I see both methods as appropriate under different circumstances, but, as Tdol said, one has to use aricles.

    I took a bus to the city center.
    I saw a hawk right in the center of the city.

    John is a community leader who helps the homeless.
    John is a well-respected man and a leader in his community.

    You should teach a course in memo writing.
    The writing of memos has been largely replaced by e-mailing messages.

  4. #4
    Pawel Guest

    Default Re: easy question

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork
    I see both methods as appropriate under different circumstances, but, as Tdol said, one has to use aricles.

    I took a bus to the city center.
    I saw a hawk right in the center of the city.

    John is a community leader who helps the homeless.
    John is a well-respected man and a leader in his community.

    You should teach a course in memo writing.
    The writing of memos has been largely replaced by e-mailing messages.
    I'm sorry for bothering you. Could you explain to me under which circumstances I should use one method and under which the other? Is there any difference in meaning between "memo writing" and "the writing of memos" in your examples. In which situations should I use each of them? For you this subject must be a trifle, but it has made me confused for a long time. Thank you very much.

  5. #5
    RonBee's Avatar
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    Default

    Re:
    • I took a bus to the city center.
      I saw a hawk right in the center of the city.


    The city center and the center of the city might not be tjhe same.

    Re:
    • John is a community leader who helps the homeless.
      John is a well-respected man and a leader in his community.


    While you might be able to say, "John is a well-respected man and a community leader", you wouldn't be able to replcae "community leader" (inthe first sentence) with "a leader in his community", because "who helps the homeless" would be modifying the wrong word.

    Re:
    • You should teach a course in memo writing.
      The writing of memos has been largely replaced by e-mailing messages.


    I think there is a difference between "memo writing" and "the writing of memos", but it is a subtle one. I think "memo writing" (in "a course in memo writing") is the art of memor writing, but "the writing of memos" is the practice of memo writing. (It could be a distinctiion without a difference.)

    What do you think, Mike?

    :)

  6. #6
    MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    Default Re: easy question

    Quote Originally Posted by Pawel
    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork
    I see both methods as appropriate under different circumstances, but, as Tdol said, one has to use aricles.

    I took a bus to the city center.
    I saw a hawk right in the center of the city.

    John is a community leader who helps the homeless.
    John is a well-respected man and a leader in his community.

    You should teach a course in memo writing.
    The writing of memos has been largely replaced by e-mailing messages.
    I'm sorry for bothering you. Could you explain to me under which circumstances I should use one method and under which the other? Is there any difference in meaning between "memo writing" and "the writing of memos" in your examples. In which situations should I use each of them? For you this subject must be a trifle, but it has made me confused for a long time. Thank you very much.
    You're not bothering me. We are here for your questions.

    There are no hard and fast rules for this. As Ron nicely provided for you, there are two possibilities. The two forms of writing can have the exact same meaning or they can differ. When they differ, clarity and accuracy are the controlling factors. We should try to write in such a way that the reader undersdtands what we mean. When they are the same, style is often the controlling factor. We can use both forms to vary the language in the text. Or we can avoid serial prepositional phrases by using an adjective or avoid multiple adjectives by using a prepositional phrase.[/quote]

  7. #7
    MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by RonBee
    Re:
    • I took a bus to the city center.
      I saw a hawk right in the center of the city.


    The city center and the center of the city might not be tjhe same.

    Re:
    • John is a community leader who helps the homeless.
      John is a well-respected man and a leader in his community.


    While you might be able to say, "John is a well-respected man and a community leader", you wouldn't be able to replcae "community leader" (inthe first sentence) with "a leader in his community", because "who helps the homeless" would be modifying the wrong word.

    Re:
    • You should teach a course in memo writing.
      The writing of memos has been largely replaced by e-mailing messages.


    I think there is a difference between "memo writing" and "the writing of memos", but it is a subtle one. I think "memo writing" (in "a course in memo writing") is the art of memor writing, but "the writing of memos" is the practice of memo writing. (It could be a distinctiion without a difference.)

    What do you think, Mike?

    :)
    I think your comments were right on. :wink:

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