Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I'm learning English. Unfortunately I have some obstacles in writing and speaking. In particular I often note that there are too many "of"-s in my sentences. For instance I want to get rid of them in the phrase "quality of this approach to the conundrum of enhancing my vocabulary" and I don't know if I can write "word memorization" instead of "memorization of the words". However "of" is a very common preposition and thus it's not a good keyword for googling.

Do you know any hints and grammar rules I can use for reconstruction of sentences to lower the usage of "of" or any links I can make a use of for finding this information or some good keywords for searching?

share|improve this question
add comment

2 Answers

up vote 6 down vote accepted

"Of" can be alternated with possessives and adjectives. (quality of approach and variety of sentences) "This approach's quality can be improved by using sentence variation in order to enhance vocabulary and style."

share|improve this answer
add comment

You really need to consider not two, but three forms:

  1. word memorization

  2. memorization of (the) words

  3. memorizing (the) words

In all but technical writing, 3) is much the most common. (Personally I would prefer it even in technical writing, but some people seem to think that abstract nouns make their writing more impressive.)

Sentence 2 is unusual in any context, unless the topic is the memorization, and "of the words" is almost incidental, eg "The memorization of the words was a major feat for this actor" - but even then, 3. would be more natural for me.

[Note: I've put (the) in parenthesis because 2. and 3. are grammatical both with and without 'the', but the meaning is different. 1. is ambiguous in this respect - another reason why I would avoid it. ]

Edit: just noticed that SE renumbered my "2." to "1.", making my last paragraph before the note into nonsense. Corrected by adding the word "Sentence" to protect my "2" from its evilhelpful clutches.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.