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    #1

    a challenge of man against nature

    This is one of our province's 2009 college entrance examination items:

    23. --How amazing it is that astronauts are exploring outer space!
    --It's a challenge, I guess, ___ man against nature.

    A. of B. for C. by D. about
    The given answer is A.

    We often say "a challenge to sb" and in no dictionaries can I find a phrase like 'a challenge of man against...'.
    Do native speakers often use this phrase? Is it a good test item?

    Thank you in advance.
    Last edited by joham; 09-Jun-2009 at 07:50. Reason: a word corrected.

  1. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: a challenge of man against nature

    Quote Originally Posted by joham View Post
    This is one of our province's 2009 college entrance examination items:

    23. --How amazing it is that astronauts are exploring outer space!
    --It's a challenge, I guess, ___ man against nature.

    A. of B. for C. by D. about
    The given answer is A.

    We often say "a challenge to sb" and in no dictionaries can I find a phrase like 'a challenge of man against...'.
    Do native speakers often use this phrase? Is it a good test item?

    Thank you in advance.
    I don't think it's a good test question.
    How amazing it is that astronauts are exploring outer space!
    --It's a challenge, I guess, man against nature.

    It would be fine thus, with nothing in front of 'man'.

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    #3

    Re: a challenge of man against nature

    Quote Originally Posted by bhaisahab View Post
    I don't think it's a good test question.
    How amazing it is that astronauts are exploring outer space!
    --It's a challenge, I guess, man against nature.
    It would be fine thus, with nothing in front of 'man'.
    Hi, bhaisahab. Thank you for your help. I only doubt the test item is good. But your sentence surprised me. Then what does the 'man against nature' function as in this sentence?
    Thank you again.
    Last edited by joham; 09-Jun-2009 at 11:06.

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    #4

    Re: a challenge of man against nature

    Quote Originally Posted by joham View Post
    This is one of our province's 2009 college entrance examination items:

    23. --How amazing it is that astronauts are exploring outer space!
    --It's a challenge, I guess, ___ man against nature.

    A. of B. for C. by D. about
    The given answer is A.

    We often say "a challenge to sb" and in no dictionaries can I find a phrase like 'a challenge of man against...'.
    Do native speakers often use this phrase? Is it a good test item?

    Thank you in advance.
    And is the sentence similar in some way to the one below which comes from the BNC:
    That night we sat round the campfire telling stories of great daring, of man against nature, of strange beasts in the wilderness, of the best pizza in San Francisco, while listening to the coyotes howl.

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    #5

    Re: a challenge of man against nature

    We say 'a story of man against nature' and 'a struggle of man against nature' and

    Still, it is the classic clash of man against nature that has inspired the most interest. (From the magazine Times)

    But why can't we say 'a challenge of man against nature'?

    Thank you again.

  2. Raymott's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: a challenge of man against nature

    Quote Originally Posted by joham View Post
    We say 'a story of man against nature' and 'a struggle of man against nature' and

    Still, it is the classic clash of man against nature that has inspired the most interest. (From the magazine Times)

    But why can't we say 'a challenge of man against nature'?

    Thank you again.
    It sounds normal to me.
    I think I understand bhaisahab's objection to "challenge of A against B", but it's too subtle to bother explicating. Besides, the term is in current usage.

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    #7

    Re: a challenge of man against nature

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    It sounds normal to me.
    I think I understand bhaisahab's objection to "challenge of A against B", but it's too subtle to bother explicating. Besides, the term is in current usage.
    Hi, Raymott. Thank you very much for your time. I'm asking if 'a challenge of man against nature' is fine or good English. To the Chinese ear, it sounds all right because it is similar to a Chinese expression. If it is in current usage, how come that I found no webpage at all with this phrase on it? I need your further help and that of other native speakers.

    Thank you again.
    Last edited by joham; 11-Jun-2009 at 12:59.

  3. Raymott's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: a challenge of man against nature

    Quote Originally Posted by joham View Post
    Hi, Raymott. Thank you very much for your time. I'm asking if 'a challenge of man against nature' is fine or good English. To the Chinese ear, it sounds all right because it is similar to a Chinese expression. If it is in current usage, how come that I found no webpage at all with this phrase on it? I need your further help and that of other native speakers.

    Thank you again.
    These all come from a search of Google for "challenge of man", and they use the same construction. (versus, vs. = against)

    - In the challenge of Man vs. Food… Allen, CEO of Map The Soul, IS DEFEATED.
    - In a head-to-head challenge of man versus machine, IBM will pit a supercomputer named Watson against human contestants.
    - While RAAM is a race it is also an enduring challenge of man against machine ...
    - He loved the classic challenge of man against the elements ...
    etc.


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