Specifically I'm wondering what the grammatical vocabulary is to distinguish between these two constructs. My motivation is that I generally prefer direct language like "I love..." and am irritated by the pervasive use of the passive(?) "I am a lover of..." type of construct, but I'm having difficulty labeling my irritation.


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    Welcome! One suggestion: what you're looking at is not passive voice. The passive voice version of "I love nachos" is "Nachos are loved by me." – TaliesinMerlin Jan 30 '19 at 18:40
  • Isn't this kind of like the genitive case in German? Not sure if it's called that in English though. – Austin Day Jan 30 '19 at 19:36
  • 'I am a lover of . . . ' is not passive. – jsw29 Jan 30 '19 at 22:06
  • Why do you believe that the use of 'I am a lover of . . . ' is pervasive? – jsw29 Jan 30 '19 at 22:12

Your irritation must be founded on something other than grammar. The two sentences have slightly different meanings.

I love X.

expresses the action implied by the verb 'love' (from 'to love'), and applied on the predicate X. The second sentence

I am a lover of X.

expresses membership to a category. The membership is expressed by the verb 'am' (from 'to be'). The name of the category is 'lover of X' in which 'lover' is a noun.

One could deduce that if 'I am a lover of X' is asserted then it likely follows that 'I love X.', 'I love X now.', or 'I loved X.' are also true. On the other hand, it is possible that both 'I am a lover of X' and 'I am not loving X this time' are true simultaneously. Perhaps that could be irritating if one asked me if I love X and I reply with 'I am a lover of X'. The person inquiring might not be certain from my answer if I am asserting loving this X right now.

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  • My frustration is rooted mainly in the use of passive language and its fairly recent ubiquity which I hear/read expressed most frequently in the term "I am a lover of...". I like direct language. If you love something, say you love it. Saying "I am a lover of..." just seems pretentious. As though loving something is something is some feature of the speaker of which to be proud... some exclusive characteristic. It's annoying. Saying "I am a lover of..." puts the focus on the speaker rather than the thing being loved, also. Thank you for your response, though. – Arcenis Rojas Feb 21 '19 at 20:12

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