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My French origins (probably?) would have me intuitively write “all X-related things”, but it seems usage favours the construct “all things X-related”, or even without a hyphen: “all things X related” (see Google results for “all related things”).

So, are any of these incorrect? Which one would be best?

(If that's any help, I want to say “software engineer with a passion for all things user related”. Also in this particular case, should I write “users related” instead?)

Thanks!

  • related: Why do some adjectives follow the nouns they modify? Socce - I'd have thought if you're a native Francophone you'd be more drawn to "all things X-related", since French usually puts the adjective after the noun. I recall asking about “ma jolie femme” vs “ma femme jolie” on SO French. – FumbleFingers Jan 28 '14 at 16:51
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    @FumbleFingers then it's probably more like, the way that from a French culture I learnt to always place adjectives before the noun in English (which was insisted upon because unintuitive to us)... Thanks for the related question, which shows me that there are exceptions. :) – Socce Jan 29 '14 at 13:51
  • @ Socce: I see what you mean (good point). You may find it interesting to note Google Book claims 1680 hits for "and all things related" -"related to" (where the excluded term should get rid of most "false positives" not relevant to our context here). By contrast, it claims only 173 instances of "and all related things". It's almost a "fixed phrase", using non-standard word order. – FumbleFingers Jan 29 '14 at 14:36
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X-related is not required to come before or after what it modifies. It is all things which is idiomatic, and makes you question the word position.

The Biblical all things to all men may explain its popularity, or to a lesser extent, all things must pass. Regardless of origin, however, all things remains a very frequent collocation, found in such expressions as all things being equal or of all things! The flagship news program on National Public Radio (US) is All Things Considered, and for an extensive review of American stereotypes of Scotland, there is the old Saturday Night Live sketch about a store named All Things Scottish (and Pizza).

To insert an adjective before things violates no grammatical rule. One could conceivably say We need more purple things for Mardis Gras decorations, or What are all the round things on the left of the banner? In a CV, however, I would avoid vague words like things in favor of specific terminology.

Software engineer with a passion for all things user-related.

Software engineer with a passion for user-related design and development.

(The term would indeed be user-related, as with user access, user error, and so on.)

All things is somewhat more grandiose than everything, and sometimes they can substitute for one another. One could plausibly say I'm interested in everything Turkish and I'm interested in all things Turkish in conversation. On the other hand, You're all things I want in a woman sounds stilted, and I'd like a pizza with all things on it will get you a quizzical look. And no pizza.

  • Thanks for the complete, in-depth and pleasant to read explanation. Using the vague “things” in my case is also some kind of “strategic sloppiness” -- a personal choice, I'll admit. For future readers, the hyphen-or-no-hyphen question was also adressed in Should I use “ related” or “-related”. – Socce Jan 29 '14 at 13:39
  • I don't strongly disagree with any of this, but I wouldn't really say your illustrations show that "all things" is in itself an idiomatic usage. It's just a trivial literal collocation, except in the specific form "all things/matters X-related". Which I venture to suggest is at the very least an idiomatic "fixed form" - which you could either characterise as "post-positive adjective" or deletion of "that are". – FumbleFingers Jan 29 '14 at 15:28

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