4

The title says it all. I have heard the phrase used either way, but "well" makes more sense to me. My editor and I are both at a stalemate with this one.

8
  • 5
    Either will do. Why not toss a coin?
    – Mick
    Jul 24, 2019 at 13:16
  • 1
    An infinite well is usually said to be "bottomless", and a "well" is not usually used in that context. Jul 24, 2019 at 13:16
  • I'd argue that both 'well' and 'wealth' are used in a quasi-quantifier way here (cf 'a lot of common sense', 'wealth of ...' being a snowclone, and that perhaps for this reason 'a seemingly infinite' doesn't sit too well with either expression. 'A seemingly infinite wealth of' sounds unnatural to my ears, and a seemingly infinite well is perhaps over-stretching the mental picture. I'd use 'a seemingly infinite source'. Jul 24, 2019 at 16:12
  • ... As @Jason points out, 'well' has at least connotations of 'good' (a good source) and 'wealth' must denote 'good'. “The internet is a seemingly infinite source of invaluable information” works but loses punchiness. Jul 24, 2019 at 18:48
  • 1
    I would say that "infinite wealth" sounds positive, but "bottomless well" is a bit more negative. Maybe "youtube is a bottomless well of cat videos" vs. "wikipedia has an infinite wealth of knowledge available" Jul 25, 2019 at 0:34

2 Answers 2

6

"Wealth of information" is a (somewhat) commonly used idiom, as compared to "Well of information".

As per the Cambridge dictionary, one of the meanings of wealth (in Business English) is given as:

a large amount of something good:

a wealth of data/detail/information The website gives a wealth of data on a company's stock.

He brings a wealth of industry experience to his new position.

6
  • But doesn't this make 'a seemingly infinite wealth of ...' an overegging? Wouldn't 'a seemingly infinite source of ...' be preferable? Jul 24, 2019 at 16:15
  • 1
    @EdwinAshworth No, because information can also be bad. By specifying wealth, it's focusing only on the good information. The equivalent of infinite wealth of information would be infinite well of good information. At least as far as the cited definition implies . . . Jul 24, 2019 at 17:59
  • @Jason Bassford Agreed; the 'good' needs specifying to remain felicitous; but the overegging still applies. // This puts 'wealth' (or the lexeme 'a wealth of', at least) alongside 'galore' (corresponds to 'many gay/resplendent'), in my opinion, in a class where a word (hmm ... or lexeme!?) must be classed as both a quantifier and an adjective at the same time. Muchgood / manygay. Jul 24, 2019 at 18:50
  • Good answer, but it's worth noting that there's nothing wrong with using "well of information". It makes perfect sense. If you like how it sounds, use it.
    – user91988
    Jul 24, 2019 at 21:52
  • This isn't really an idiom. The meaning, for both forms, is transparent from its constituent words. Jul 24, 2019 at 22:08
10

I think 'wealth' is the most appropriate choice, for the reasons already given, but I question the use of 'is' as the verb - "is ... a wealth" doesn't sound right. It would be better to say 'provides us with' or 'affords us'. Maybe you should consider changing the verb or finding another word altogether, such as 'fount', 'source', or 'wellspring'.

1
  • 4
    I agree, or simply 'has' a wealth of information
    – Mynamite
    Jul 24, 2019 at 19:19

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.