Can "antithesis" be used with the preposition "to" as in the following example sentence?

...We human beings have a tendency to demand without giving much in return to the Earth. However, this is an antithesis to how the biosphere works...

  • 3
    Yes, though usually "antithesis" is framed as the diametric opposite, which of course is unique (as in south being uniquely the diametric opposite of north), so typically "antithesis" takes "the" (definite article), not "an" (indefinite). You can also use it adjectively, as in "Antithetical to...". – Dan Bron Jan 28 '17 at 22:41
  • @DanBron I think this is what my brain reminds me..Thank you..which one would you prefer noun or adjective form for a sentence like in the question ? – Mrt Jan 28 '17 at 22:45

Your use of "to" is correct. However, one would take issue with your use of the article, 'an'.

The word 'antithesis' is to mean the exact opposite of something. Meaning, there can be only one exact opposite. So if you're going to use antithesis in a sentence, it should be written as 'the antithesis' rather than 'an antithesis', as there shouldn't exist more than one antithesis.

  • Thank you for your answer. However, why is there not any example with the preposition " to" in dictionaries? – Mrt Jan 28 '17 at 23:05
  • I believe 'antithesis of' is used more commonly, and thus 'antithesis to' may be less represented in dictionary definitions. If I had to guess, I'd say 'antithesis to' is a more modern usage of the word, but it is wholly accepted. – The Count Jan 28 '17 at 23:11
  • Your supporting evidence? We speak of 'the opposite of ...'. – Edwin Ashworth Jan 28 '17 at 23:30

Yes, the expression an antithesis to is a correct expression meaning "the opposite of":

From Nietzsche and Ethics:

  • I hope to show two things: that Nietzsche characterizes his immoralist position as an extension of rather than as an antithesis to a moralist one, and that Nietzsche offers a teleological position different from any of the familiar ones.

Usage note of "antithesis" from M-W :

  • Writers and speechmakers use the traditional pattern known as antithesis for its resounding effect; John Kennedy's famous "ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country" is an example.
  • But antithesis normally means simply "opposite". Thus, war is the antithesis of peace, wealth is the antithesis of poverty, and love is the antithesis of hate. Holding two antithetical ideas in one's head at the same time—for example, that you're the sole master of your fate but also the helpless victim of your terrible upbringing—is so common as to be almost normal.
  • OP asks about the acceptability of 'an antithesis to'. – Edwin Ashworth Jan 28 '17 at 23:33

Why not replace the noun with an adjective, which seems much more natural to me?

...We human beings have a tendency to demand without giving much in return to the Earth. However, this is antithetical to how the biosphere works...

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