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I want to say "the reality of and outlook on crime in Europe" without using two prepositions.

Can I say "the reality and outlook on crime in Europe?"
Can you lead me to a grammatical reference for this issue so I can read further?

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Anytime you run into problems like this, ask yourself, "Are all these words really necessary? What can I cut?" Do you really need "reality" here? Is crime itself not a real thing? –  Robusto Mar 21 '11 at 13:19
    
@Robusto: no, actually it frequently isn't real at all. The amount of crime that happens and the amount of crime that people believe happens have very little correlation. The OP's request looks like it belongs in a study, and a study of that type would be lacking if it didn't take that into account. –  user1579 Mar 21 '11 at 16:48
    
@Robusto Take for instance the statement "Country X has the highest crime rate in the world" this would indicate a very lawless country, however the staement "Country X has the highest crime rate in the world, however the reality is that 99% of all crimes reported are parking offences" Although this is an absurd example the statistic is still the same and the crime is still real however the implication is different –  Purplegoldfish Mar 21 '11 at 17:08
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@Rhodri, @Purplegoldfish: You are supplying context unavailable in the OP's question. Granted, any number of hypothetical situations might exist. In any case, one should still ask oneself whether all the words are really necessary whenever one writes a sentence. Sometimes they are, in which case include them; sometimes they are not, in which case leave them out. –  Robusto Mar 21 '11 at 17:11
    
Thanks guys. It's actually the title of an Arabic academic publication used by law enforcement personnel / researchers in the Middle east. I have to translate the title and so don't want to play around too much with the original Arabic words meaning 'reality / present state' and 'outlook'. –  nicholas ainsworth Mar 22 '11 at 7:15

4 Answers 4

up vote 3 down vote accepted

When forming a parallel construction such as this, it is important to include all the words necessary to make the parallelism work properly. Since, as you note, "outlook" and "reality" require two different prepositions, those prepositions need to be included in the paralleled structures. However, the prepositions do make the sentence look at least a little bit awkward, so it is probably worth your while to search around a bit for alternative words that use matching prepositions, or to reword the sentence to eliminate the parallel construction:

The reality and the perception of crime in Europe

Crime in Europe: the reality vs. the outlook

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First, what do we mean by "outlook?" Prediction? Opinion? Emotion? The word tells us very little. Better to use a word that's not so lazy, not so weasely. Also "reality": why not just say or show the facts without the preamble?

Then, to me, the reality of crime and the "outlook" on crime are two ideas different enough that each deserves its own phrase or sentence:

"We issued 42 speeding tickets last year1. We are working to cut that number by half2."

-- pete

1 The reality.
2 The "outlook."

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The answer to your question is no, I'm afraid you can't do that without sounding odd. Reality and outlook take different following prepositions, and trying to make them use just one will at best jar. The best rephrasing I can think of that keeps your word choice is

"...perceptions of crime in Europe, in both reality and outlook."

That's not exactly wonderful though, and your original phrasing is just fine as far as I'm concerned.

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How about

An outlook on the reality of crime in Europe.

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