Can we use equivalently "A is associated with B" and "B is associated with A"??

closed as unclear what you're asking by J. Taylor, JJJ, TrevorD, Davo, TaliesinMerlin Mar 26 at 17:43

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  • Please provide actual examples of what you mean. We aren't good at math here. ") – tchrist Mar 25 at 3:31
  • @tchrist is there any reason to think that this is a math question? – Amritanshu Prasad Mar 25 at 3:37
  • 3
    Almost never. Better avoid. – Kris Mar 25 at 6:31
  • What's unclear about this?!! – Kris Mar 25 at 6:31
  • Ok, folks: it is grammatically equivalent. But generally, we say: A is to B as B is to A. – Lambie Mar 25 at 18:06

In layman's terms (not invoking formal/academic logic in the answer)... an English speaker might assume that one implies the other, especially if there's no need for clarification on what 'associated' entails.

However grammar typically (but not always) places the subject towards the beginning of the sentence, and the object towards the end. The object in a sentence being the entity that is acted upon by the subject.

"James fed the dogs" leaves the dogs as the object being acted upon but James as the subject.

Where "associated" calls for more clarification, it can be too vague a term, and the inverse is NOT identical:

  1. This garbage collection company is associated with the mafia

  2. The mafia is associated with this garbage collection company

1 implies you are concerned with this garbage collection company in particular - maybe the existence of the mafia is a given, but you wish to discuss the garbage collection company.

2 implies you wish to discuss the mafia in particular - our discussion will revolve around the mafia and their attributes more than the company itself.

These are not hard rules but whichever one you begin with would be the one I assume you think is the subject of discussion.

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