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While reading first few chapters of fascinating book "On Writing Well", this doubt struck my mind:

"There are many great English writings of which I am unaware of"

OR

"There are many great English writings which I don't know"

What is the difference in meaning? Do they convey same meaning?

To me it doesn't feels the same. I would say, I am more inclined to express the first sentence as

"There are many great English writings which I don't know as yet"

Please help!

Thanks a lot.

  • 4
    Saying “of which I am unaware of” is bogus. – tchrist Jul 9 '13 at 16:33
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    First of all, the first one is ungrammatical. Lose one of the of's; either of is all right by itself, but using both is wrong. (See Pied Piping) Second, the difference between the correct sentences is the difference between be unaware of and not know, right? And that's the same difference as not be aware of and not know, so you can factor out the not and say it's the same difference between know and be aware of. Both are factive mental perception predicates; know seems to imply more personal commitment to the experience. – John Lawler Jul 9 '13 at 16:37
  • Aha you mean there couldn't be two of's? – user47487 Jul 9 '13 at 17:28
  • The of that would be stranded at the end is pied-piped (i.e, conceptually "moved") to the beginning, maintaining the prepositional phrase. That means it can't appear at the end, too. Pied-piping is optional, but if it gets done it doesn't leave the preposition stranded, too. – John Lawler Jul 9 '13 at 20:28
1

There are many great English writings of which I am unaware of.

Is simply wrong. It could be

There are many great English writings of which I am unaware.

or

There are many great English writings that I am unaware of.

(okay, I'm a that/which stickler.)

The best way to state this is probably the most direct:

I am unaware of many great English writings.

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"There are many great English writings of which I am unaware of" should have one less 'of' in there. I also believe it should be 'that' instead of 'which.'

After considering the sentences after the correction it's just a matter of "I am unaware of" and "I don't know."

They almost mean the same thing, but in this context, one can be aware of something and still not "know" the English writing. However, one cannot know about a piece of literature without being aware of it. That is, if one "knows" it, one is aware of it. However, if one is "aware" of it, one may not necessarily "know" it.

It is usual to find "aware" associated with "having heard of" and "know" associated with "understanding and comprehension" (

Consider the example:

Are you aware of the man in your backyard?

and

Do you know the man in your backyard?

In terms of semantics, they are very similar, but the latter implies a personal relationship or a deeper level of understanding or comprehension rather than simply "knowing the existence of"

I hope this helps!

  • one cannot know about a piece of literature without being unaware of it. Might you have meant "without being aware of it"? :) – user22138 Jul 9 '13 at 18:28
  • Yes I did! My apologies, thanks for pointing that out. :) – tf.rz Jul 9 '13 at 18:28

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