“A discussion of”, “a discussion on”, and “a discussion about”: When is each phrase used in preference to the other?
If context is important, I want to use it as a subheading on a piece of non-fiction.
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Oh lordy, another "there's a difference, but I can't quite put my finger on it" question. But I'm gonna try anyway. :)
Note that all of these connotations are vague and amorphous, and can be overridden by customary usages, or by what "sounds best" in a given context. If you pressed me to suggest a single best choice, today I'd go with "of". No guarantees about tomorrow.
I suppose the answer depends on what your subject is, and what tone you're trying to set.
"Discussion on" can sound serious or pretentious or formal, to me, as in:
"Discussion of" could describe the particulars of the event of the discussion (currently happening, perhaps having just happened), even separate from the explicit topic:
Or it can refer directly to the subject at hand, a summary of what you will discuss:
"Discussion about" sounds informal. "Here's some stuff we're talking about."
can refer to the people discussing or what they're discussing.
is less ambiguous. Here, the writer clearly means the object of the discussion (that which is being talked about).
I would probably lean toward about as in:
Using the preposition of there feels wrong to me. In a subheading on a paper
it would feel as if it was the otters who were having the discussion.
about seems to be more informal, like
of is more likely to be used in writing, often in scientific or formal setting:
on is somewhere in between, but closer to "of".
Discuss means "to talk about". So when you write discuss about, that means you are saying "talk about about". So the preposition about is not required when you use the verb discuss.
protected by tchrist Aug 13 '14 at 14:47
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