I wanted to combine these two questions into one, and I came up with the question above. 1) What do people think of magic today? 2) What did people think of magic in the past?

  • Yes, that's correct, but it's not an improvement over the original two questions. It's more complex and harder to understand and if you're trying to get answers, you'll do better just asking the two questions together. – John Lawler Feb 9 at 18:01
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    I would prefer “How different are people's beliefs about magic today from those of people in the past?” – Michael Harvey Feb 9 at 19:19
  • A hair awkward, but it appears to be "correct'. – Hot Licks Feb 9 at 22:48

Except in rare cases, people, being plural and not indicating any kind of commonality, possess plural things. So the question is better phrased

How different are people's beliefs about magic today from those of people in the past?

That is still somewhat awkward, though, so for style, I would change it to

How have people's beliefs about magic changed from 20 years ago to today?

If the question is only about whether people believe in magic or not, then you can use the singular

How have people's belief in magic changed over time?


Since humans are the only sentient beings (on earth), one can permissibly dismiss the word 'people' all together and pose the question:

How has the belief in magic changed over time?


“ How different is the belief about magic today from that in the past?”

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    That's where I was headed also. "How is today's belief about magic different from that of the past?” – Phil Sweet Feb 10 at 2:48

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