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.

The doctor's association has threatened to go on indefinite strike to support/in support of/in support for their teachers.

share|improve this question
    
There's no question here, Sudhir. What are you looking for? –  StoneyB Sep 19 '12 at 23:30
    
I am asking best usage of “To support”, “in support of” and “in support for” in this sentence. @StoneyB –  Sudhir Sep 20 '12 at 4:54
add comment

closed as not a real question by waiwai933 Jan 14 '13 at 8:10

It's difficult to tell what is being asked here. This question is ambiguous, vague, incomplete, overly broad, or rhetorical and cannot be reasonably answered in its current form. For help clarifying this question so that it can be reopened, visit the help center.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

3 Answers

up vote 1 down vote accepted

Both in support of and to support are correct.

The doctor's association has threatened to go on indefinite strike to support their teachers.

The doctor's association has threatened to go on indefinite strike in support of their teachers.

Kelly was correct in that to support implies direct help--as if the strike will directly cause a change in the doctor's assocation.

In support of implies indirect help--the doctor's association is threatening to go on strike for moral support. The strike itself may not do much, but it's a statement--the doctor's assocation cares about their teachers.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Both "to support" and "in support of" are grammatically correct. "To support" has a slightly stronger connotation of direct help, while "in support of" could suggest moral support or making a statement. That's a very slight and subtle difference though, and a lot of people might not make that distinction.

I don't think "in support for" is idiomatic. It doesn't seem to be used this way. (A Google search shows that "in support for" mostly comes up in phrases like "a drop in support for X," which means the amount of support dropped, not that something was dropped to support X.)

So, either "to support" and "in support of" is fine. If you want to distinguish between direct help and moral support, I suggest "to support" for more direct help and "in support of" for moral support.

share|improve this answer
    
Please help someone –  Sudhir Sep 19 '12 at 15:06
add comment

First of all prepositions are a bit tricky in English. In most cases the use of prepositions depend on the context; hence, there are no strict rules governing the use of prepositions. To answer your question, here is my take on it.

To support is the infinitive form of the verb support and could mean provide for, help, hold up, back up, back, advocate or promote, etc. Here are a few examples:

She struggled to support her family. (Means to provide for)

Please hold the pillars for a minutes to support the roof. (Means to hold up)

The jury asked for evidence to support the argument.(Means to back up)

We are here to support charitable projects.(Means to help)

Iowans are to support Obama. (Means to back)

The main vision of the group is to support human rights.(Means to promote or advocate)

Now according to OED and NOAD, in support of is a phrase and means:

  • giving assistance to: air operations in support of the land forces.
  • showing approval of: the paper printed many letters in support of the government.
  • attempting to promote or obtain: a strike in support of an 8.5% pay raise.

In support for means roughly the same as in support of in your example. Here are a few examples:

The new survey shows a drop in support for the war.

The new survey shows a drop in support of the war.

That said, in your example all three are grammatical and mean roughly the same thing. I would use in support of not because it's the best fit, but it feels better in the context at issue.

share|improve this answer
    
I don't think your final examples quite work. It's not using "in support for" as a phrase the same way "in support of" is used. Instead "support" is the object of the preposition "in" with a second prepositional phrase, "for the war," modifying "support." –  Kelly Tessena Keck Sep 26 '12 at 16:44
add comment

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