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I want to use the word tolerance in the context of infectious diseases.

This sentence:

The immune response will mediate either clearance or tolerance preposition infections.

In other words, the immune system will either get rid of infections from the body or on the contrary will tolerate them.

Is it of, to, from, toward or what? which preposition is more correct?

  • "The immune response will mediate either clearance or tolerance preposition infections." I would edit the sentence to : The immune response mediates clearance of or tolerance to preposition infections. – Third News Jun 17 '14 at 20:52
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"Of"...because you need it to fit with "clearance" also, with which "to", "from" and "toward" will not work.

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Tolerance is normally to or toward(s) something. This Ngram would indicate that to is quite a bit more common than toward(s), while toward and towards are about equally common.

Clearance, on the other hand, is not to something (unless you’re talking about having security clearance to some place or files marked top secret), but of something: your body clears itself of an infection.

As such, you should have two prepositions to be clear. If you wish, you can set the second set of noun + preposition off with commas:

The immune response will mediate either clearance of or tolerance to(wards) infections.
The immune response will mediate either clearance of, or tolerance to(wards), infections.

  • I think clearance from infections fits more. – doctorate Jun 17 '14 at 19:59
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    @doctorate Clearance from infection would imply that the body has been cleared away from the infection, rather than the infection having been cleared away from the body. Similarly, you can have a clearance of blockages in the sewers, or you can have a blockage clearance from the sewers. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Jun 17 '14 at 20:01
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Why not:
The immune response will either clear, or else tolerate, infections. ?

Or:
The immune response will either clear infections, or else tolerate them.

The gratuitous use of the word mediate, in this context, smacks of gobbledygook.

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