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If we were asked to write about the contributions a person made to the study of computer science for example, is that different from if we were asked to write about the contributions a person made to computer science?

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2 Answers 2

The first example is a subset of the second example. Computer Science is a very broad subject and has many subsets. Witness the subtle differences in these examples:

  • contributions a person made to computer science
  • contributions a person made to the study of computer science
  • contributions a person made to the application of computer science
  • contributions a person made to the professors of computer science
  • contributions a person made to the founding principles of computer science
  • contributions a person made to the chaos of computer science

(I'm not sure, but I think that last sentence may have been about Kenneth Iverson.)

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I'm guessing they're the same. Sometimes when people say "the study of," they mean "the field of." I'd bet that that's what the person intended.

Otherwise, they're asking about someone who contributed to the way computer science is studied or taught. That meaning seems less likely to me, though it might make sense in some limited contexts.

My recommendation: Ask the person what they meant.

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