"The balls are of equal weight." I think this sentence means "The balls are equal in weight." Why do you say "of" here? What function and meaning does "of" have?

My guess is as follows. The balls are (composed) of equal weight. or The balls are (some kilos) of equal weight. (abbreviation)

Likewise other examples are

  1. He is of Polish descent (He is out of /from).or He is (a man) of Polish descent
  2. The house is of his own design (The house is out of /from). or The house is (a building) of his own design
  3. The trash smells of fish.(?) The trash smells (like the smell) of fish
  • 1
    I assume that Chinese is your native language. I don't know much about it, but what I gather is that prepositions, adverbs, and minor parts of speech do not figure greatly, The grammar and the fluidity of language is achieved through tonal inflections of the main ideographic components of nouns and verbs. Prepositions in western languages are probably doing things that are achieved through tone change in Chinese. Can you perhaps explain how you would say "The balls are of equal weight" in Chinese? What words other than "balls", "equal" and "weight" would you use?
    – WS2
    Nov 12, 2017 at 7:47

1 Answer 1


The preposition "of" may denote/imply a sense of "belonging". E.g:

people of the same status

people of the same abilities

children of the same age

people of China

  • 1
    +1 for noting that “of same X” is actually membership of a category.
    – Logophile
    Nov 12, 2017 at 10:58

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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