[Grammar] difference in prepositions

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komissarovk

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Is there any grammar or stylistic difference in the prepositions of and to? The example: Wife to Mozart and Wife of Salieri?
 

emsr2d2

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Is there any grammar or stylistic difference in the prepositions of and to? The example: Wife to Mozart and Wife of Salieri?

I would not expect to see "Wife to....." anywhere except perhaps on a gravestone or obituary. In almost all cases, we say "She was the wife of Mozart" or, better "She was Mozart's wife".

Just to explain what I said before, I have seen on obituaries in the paper constructions like:

"Sarah Jones, died 23 August 1999. Wife to Paul, mother to Caroline and Peter, and grandmother to Timothy."
 

komissarovk

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Thanks. But the point is that these examples are from one and the same list of characters and I'm trying to feel the difference ))
 

mayita1usa

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Thanks. But the point is that these examples are from one and the same list of characters and I'm trying to feel the difference ))

It's good to know that these are from a list of characters (in a play, I assume - Amadeus?), but it is strange that they would use two different constructions, since the meanings are really the same. Also, as emsr2d2 posted, both wife to and wife of are seen most often in obituaries or character lists like yours (although of is sometimes used in writing or conversation).

In terms of feeling the difference, my feeling about "wife to" is that it is more formal or impersonal - like the arrangement was mainly for convenience. (But if the list you're referring to is from Amadeus, then this feeling isn't true to the characters, so then I have to say that I don't know what the difference is!) :oops:

I think the final point is that to would never be used in daily conversation or writing, and it means the same as of in this case.
 
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