So, I have been writing my application for a job, and I want to mention that I consider the job as an opportunity where I convert the theory I have learned in my study into practice (real work). In this context, would it be correct to state "embedding theoretical knowledge into practice"? I read it somewhere online, but I am not quite sure about the correctness of it.

  • 2
    Hello, 4118. ELU does not provide services like proofreading, writing advice or style recommendations. If you point out a particular aspect of grammar or word choice that you are concerned about, this becomes on-topic, provided you supply reasonable research. // That said, though it's not ungrammatical and is probably acceptable semantically, I'd rate 'an opportunity where I can convert the theory I have learned in my studies into practice' many times better than 'embedding theoretical knowledge into practice' stylewise. Aug 20 '19 at 18:30
  • you’ve already said it
    – Xanne
    Aug 21 '19 at 4:17

Embedding something into another is used and idiomatic. See, for instance, this article title:

Conole, G.C. and Oliver, M., 2002. Embedding Theory into Learning Technology Practice with Toolkits. Journal of Interactive Media in Education, 2002(2), p.Art. 7. DOI: http://doi.org/10.5334/2002-8.

The literal meaning of embedding is to put something within a substance, as the Oxford Learner's Dictionary explains:

embed something (in something) to fix something firmly into a substance or solid object

[Examples] an operation to remove glass that was embedded in his leg / The bullet embedded itself in the wall. / (figurative) These attitudes are deeply embedded in our society (= felt very strongly and difficult to change).

The title above, as well as your own usage, is a figurative usage that treats practice as a substance and theory as the ideas you affix within your practice. This usage appears fairly often, especially in more academic usage. The Corpus of Contemporary American English shows 9 results for a collocation search of "embedding (something) into":

enter image description here

So something like:

Embedding content into a selected topics course ...


embedding instruction into ongoing play activities ...

means that the direct object (content, instruction, theoretical knowledge) will be a large component of the item named after "into" (a selected topics course, ongoing play activities, practice). So that's how the current usage you have works: theoretical knowledge is a basis for your practice.

Finally, making precise stylistic recommendations is outside of our scope, but let me point out that an existing related phrase is already in usage: "theory into practice" (about 222,000 results on Google Scholar). So if you use that rather than "theoretical knowledge into practice," you'll be using a collocation readers may already recognize.

  • About 1000 results in a Google search for << "Embedding Theory into" + Practice >>. I didn't investigate how many of these were repeats, as reading them was so annoying. I know which our careers advice people would have advised offered 'an opportunity where I can convert the theory I have learned in my studies into practice' and 'embedding theoretical knowledge into practice'. I suggest you compare Google results for "embedding theoretical knowledge into practice" and "converting theory into practice" before advising on potential life-changing CVs. Aug 20 '19 at 18:57
  • Thanks. I customarily run searches to work through issues of usage. Also, as someone who regularly works with people on job documents, I am aware that neither your suggested revision based on OP's phrasing nor the OP's original version are necessarily better (that depends on context, no?), which is why I also made it clear that "making precise stylistic recommendations is outside of our scope." Instead, I stuck to questions of usage appropriate to the site - what does the collocation mean and how is it used? Aug 20 '19 at 19:03
  • What exactly do you mean by "such phrasing"? You've shown that "embedding theory into practice" is idiomatic, but from what you've written ("...theoretical knowledge is a basis for your practice") it seems that the idiomatic use is different than the one the poster intended ("I consider the job as an opportunity where I convert the theory I have learned in my study into practice "). Perhaps you were intentionally not commenting on this discrepancy. But it might be useful to do so.
    – Juhasz
    Aug 20 '19 at 19:55
  • @Juhasz The existance of a few examples doesn't 'make' an expression idiomatic (ie show that it is widely accepted as sounding natural). There are fewer than 400 Google hits for "embedding theory into practice", and these include many repeats. All of the ones I looked at seem to be in academic registers (often in articles). Aug 21 '19 at 15:42

"embedding theoretical knowledge into practice" may appear grandiose. Another way to phrase this could be ; "put my knowledge into action". Or; "Set what was learned to work".

Best of luck 😊


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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