Was drafting an email and my senior wanted to type "Planting saplings is our way of saying we care for our Nature".
I felt that's wrong English. Shouldn't it be "we care for Nature"? (it makes it a bit impersonal to remove the 'our', but if 'our nature' isn't right, can the cuteness factor of mentioning 'our nature' be preserved?. Which is correct?)


You're right. Nature has (at least) two different meanings. When attributed to people, it tends to refer to their character/personality/beliefs/customs/heritage:

It's not in his nature

means "he's not that kind of person, he wouldn't do that". So if we "care for our nature" we care for our character, traditions, behaviour - it's not about nature as in the natural environment. So I would change the phrase to one of these:

We care for Nature

We care for our natural environment

We care for our environment

We care for the environment

  • Waggers’ answer is correct. I can only add that what in the question is referred to as Nature is very often referred to as Mother Nature. It's appropriate therefore to treat it as a proper noun and not use the definite article. – pavium Jul 20 '11 at 11:37

In English Our nature would refer to human nature, meaning the way humans are inherently inclined to behave.

Sometimes this sense can be extended to mean the way a particular individual is mentally wired. For example, the popular frog and scorpion fable ends with the scorpion killing them both by stinging the frog in mid-stream and explaining himself by saying, “It is my nature.”

On the other hand, when capitalized Nature is assumed to be talking about the natural world around us. It is a metaphorical concept that you can’t really put a possessive on, because it can’t be owned. Rather, it owns us.

If you really want to put a possessive on it, it should be changed to our environment.

protected by tchrist Jan 25 at 15:10

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality or spam answers that had to be removed, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site (the association bonus does not count).

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?

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