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If one has an interest in something and a fascination with something which one of the next is correct?

I've always had an interest and fascination in something


I've always had an interest and fascination with something

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Not a daft question, as English sometimes has rules (or perhaps they'd be better called conventions) as to which other 'rule' to break when it's almost impossible (or very inconvenient) not to. However, here, the rule is put in the different prepositions: John always had an interest in - bordering on a fascination with - knitting turtle-neck jumpers. Peter looked at and then voted against the plans. – Edwin Ashworth Mar 26 '13 at 20:52
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Idiomatically, it's almost always an interest in (18500 hits in Google Books, compared to just 7 for an interest with). But it's a fascination with (2680 hits), rather than a fascination in (3 hits).

OP's usage is thus never going to sound quite right, because he's trying to force a single preposition to fit two mutually incompatible contexts. Strictly speaking, it should be...

I've always had an interest in, and fascination with, something.

But actually we often avoid that complexity by just letting the preposition agree with the final context, so in principle OP's usage should be okay using with. The problem here is that in practice, to have a fascination with something is nowhere near as common as to have an interest in it, so using with to cover both contexts still doesn't sound too good.

Therefore I think the best solution is to swap the contexts around...

I've always had a fascination and interest in something.

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I've always had an interest, and fascination, in something.

I find that focuses the attention on interest, making the answer fairly straightforward. Of course, you could switch the order, as long as you switch the corresponding parts too.

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Yes, but if I use it without the commas ? Is it in or with ? – SmokerAtStadium Mar 26 '13 at 22:01
............No. – Edwin Ashworth Mar 27 '13 at 23:40

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