Which of the following seems more grammatically correct to you?

This subjectivity is embodied by the concept of qualia

This subjectivity is embodied within the concept of qualia

"Embodied within" seems to be more commonly used, but for some reason it doesn't sound quite right to me in this instance.

1 Answer 1


It depends on what you mean. Embody means either represent or make manifest an abstraction, like an idea or principle, i.e., literally to give a body, a concrete form to something:

The team embodies the spirit of winning.

Or transposed into the passive

The spirit of winning is embodied by the team.

Or it may mean to contain, as enclose within itself:

The country is adapting to the changes in national health insurance policy as embodied within the Affordable Care Act.

  • The first definition most closely matches my intent (insofar as one abstract concept can "give concrete form" to another...). I suppose my question is more about the sentence structure. If "the team embodies the spirit of winning" then it follows that "the spirit of winning is embodied by the team". However the second construction sounds a little bit unnatural to me, and I can't find many reputable examples of its use.
    – ali_m
    Commented Dec 5, 2015 at 0:09
  • I suppose I will stick with option 1 then.
    – ali_m
    Commented Dec 5, 2015 at 0:21

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