In the movie Act Of Valor, the narrator says this word "War is a country of will, there’s no room for sympathy."

But I'm wondering it has the same meaning of "War is a will of a country", I've seen similar usage of "of" , but I don't know how to use it , and is there any difference between the two usage.

Is the former "War is a country of will" just a poetic expression or has the same meaning of "War is a will of a country" ?

I have checked out the dictionary , but I didn't find similar example, can anyone explain this for me ? Thanks ~ It will be better if you can give me some examples, many many thanks~

closed as unclear what you're asking by Jason Bassford, Cascabel, JJJ, Chappo, Edwin Ashworth Jun 11 at 19:07

Please clarify your specific problem or add additional details to highlight exactly what you need. As it's currently written, it’s hard to tell exactly what you're asking. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 4
    Are you really asking about of, or is your question more "How can 'war' be 'a country'"? Certainly changing the order detailing what is of what completely changes the meaning. – Andrew Leach Jun 9 at 13:30
  • What exactly are you asking? The original is metaphoric or poetic. It's also syntactical. Changing the words would change the meaning. – Jason Bassford Jun 9 at 14:36
  • Instead of trying to "correct" the narrator, perhaps it would be better to ask what this means in this context. You will not find clarification in the dictionary: it is creative writing hence making any changes would be an editorial issue, not grammatical. – Cascabel Jun 9 at 19:45
  • Let me reiterate this, I am trying to ask is "A of B " the same meaning as "B of A"? Sometimes I find in some English context the writer use "A of B" to express the meaning of "B of A" or A's property B, I've been leaning English for many years, I know the meaning, but don't know why sometimes they reverse the order – William Chang Jun 10 at 6:05
  • I'm asking "How can 'country' be of 'will' , would it be correct that 'will' can be of 'country' "? – William Chang Jun 10 at 6:26

From your comments, you are asking if "country of will" and "will of country" are interchangeable. They are not.

Your example: "War is a country of will, there’s no room for sympathy.", is a metaphor which likens "War" to a "country (of will)". It means that "War" is a big thing with lots of different features but all of them represent "will". For "will", we assume the noun definition (summarised for simplicity from TFD, American Heritage):

Will (noun)


3 A desire, purpose, or determination, especially of one in authority

The metaphor is of a large country where "sympathy" does not feature. They phrase "no room" links to the idea of "will" as a spatial area (a country).

On the other hand, "will of country" is not necessarily a metaphor. A country can have a will and can express it in democratic processes. The speaker is not saying that war is necessarily the will of a country. They mean that when people are engaged in war, they do not show sympathy.

Another example of this kind of construction is "people of integrity" or "integrity of people". "People of integrity" are people who show a lot of integrity. These people were trustworthy because they were people of integrity. "Integrity of people" does not necessarily mean there is a lot of integrity. I'm never surprised by the integrity of people. The two phrases are not interchangeable.

  • Thanks so much! I now know the meaning better, you really helped me ~~ – William Chang Jun 18 at 6:54
  • Really really big thanks, considering my poor expression – William Chang Jun 18 at 7:14

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