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    #1

    problems of environment

    The students had the following question: What problems may be caused by the rapid increase in China's GDP?

    More than one student answered: The rapid increase in China's GDP may cause problems of environment. I said that's not good, you mean "environmental problems". A student asked why that is wrong. What should I tell her???

  1. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: problems of environment

    Quote Originally Posted by Bide View Post
    The students had the following question: What problems may be caused by the rapid increase in China's GDP?

    More than one student answered: The rapid increase in China's GDP may cause problems of environment. I said that's not good, you mean "environmental problems". A student asked why that is wrong. What should I tell her? ??
    It doesn't have to be "environmental problems". She has the preposition wrong and she omitted the article. She could have said "... may cause problems with/for the environment".

    If more than one student answered the same thing, they are either copying each other's work or they have seen this answer somewhere else. They should be encouraged to come up with their own answers.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #3

    Re: problems of environment

    Thank you. However, my question, her question, was, why is 'problems of environment' not good? We can say, "that's not how we say that in English", or we could attempt some deeper answer.

    Any clues? Cf. "problems of a different kind", "problems of a protracted nature", "problems of legitimacy" 'environment' is a noun, just as is 'legitimacy'. Prepositions such as 'of' take noun objects. Why not 'environment'?

  2. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: problems of environment

    As ems said above, there are two things:
    1. You need an article, so it's "the" environment.
    2. The preposition "of" is wrong. You can say "with" or "for."
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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    #5

    Re: problems of environment

    Thanks again. I think I am not expressing myself sufficiently clearly: the question is "Why is it wrong?" This is a fundamental problem with which I am very often, in many contexts, confronted, not just in English. Any native speaker will tell you, 'No, we don't say it like that'. However not many of these, myself included, can answer the question, "Why not?" Language is not logical. It is mutable and slippery, hard to grasp, even harder to explain.

    I certainly would not say 'may cause problems of the legitimacy'. Why not? What imperative demands 'the environment' but not 'the legitimacy'?

    It is certainly easy to find examples of sentences with 'problems of XXXXXX'. Why, in conjunction with 'environment', in this particular sentence, is 'of' not suitable?
    Last edited by Bide; 29-May-2013 at 03:46. Reason: typo

  3. Raymott's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: problems of environment

    Quote Originally Posted by Bide View Post
    Thanks again. I think I am not expressing myself sufficiently clearly: the question is "Why is it wrong?" This is a fundamental problem with which I am very often, in many contexts, confronted, not just in English. Any native speaker will tell you, 'No, we don't say it like that'. However not many of these, myself included, can answer the question, "Why not?" Language is not logical. It is mutable and slippery, hard to grasp, even harder to explain.

    I certainly would not say 'may cause problems of the legitimacy'. Why not? What imperative demands 'the environment' but not 'the legitimacy'?

    It is certainly easy to find examples of sentences with 'problems of XXXXXX'. Why, in conjunction with 'environment', in this particular sentence, is 'of' not suitable?
    I think adding the example of 'legitimacy' makes the problem harder, because now it seems you are discussing 'the' before 'environment' and not before 'legitimacy'. That is a valid question, but you started by asking about "of [the] environment"
    "What imperative demands 'the environment' but not 'the legitimacy'?" - What do you mean by "the imperative demands" it?

    Sometimes "the problem of the legitimacy" is correct. For example, "We still have the problem of the legitimacy of Prince Harry". Here, you couldn't leave out "the".
    Sometimes "the problems of environment" are correct. "We're building a new shopping centre. We still have problems of population growth, environment, and competition to solve." This is probably less common.
    Otherwise, there's no deeper reason, other than usage, as I see it.

    PS: I now note you're a native speaker. You've probably noticed this problem of prepositions before. On that subject, I can't add anything to ems and Barb.


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