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  1. A book launch event announced to be held in Berlin last summer was canceled.
  1. A book launch announced to be held in Berlin last summer was canceled.

Does ‘a book launch’ in 2 clearly mean ‘a book launch event’? Can I omit event with no worry about ambiguity?

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  • Closely related: Is the phrase ‘Berlin book launch event’ correct?
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Sep 8, 2022 at 5:34
  • @Mari-LouA They are two different questions, and you know that Mari-Lou. That question was about several nouns in a row, whereas this one is about whether the meaning of two phrases are the same.
    – Sasan
    Commented Sep 8, 2022 at 5:39
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    I didn't vote to close it as a duplicate. I said "related".
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Sep 8, 2022 at 5:40
  • @Mari-LouA OK. But there seems to be no point in saying that.
    – Sasan
    Commented Sep 8, 2022 at 5:41
  • In corporate world, if you have hardware issue, you may be told "Contact IT Dept" which becomes "Contact IT". If you have financial query, you may be told "Contact finance Dept" which is shortened to "Contact finance". In same way, "book launch event" is almost equal to "book launch". In your case, there may be some ambiguity : Was the book launch itself canceled ? Or only the book launch event was canceled ? You may want to include something like either "the book was eventually available in stores without fanfare" or "the book launch event was in winter" or "the book is still not available".
    – Prem
    Commented Sep 8, 2022 at 6:10

1 Answer 1

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A book launch event [to be held in Berlin.]

If the launching of a book is one of many similar initiatives that was held in Berlin then the indefinite article "a" is appropriate. If instead the OP is mentioning a book that the reader is familiar with, then I would use the definite article: "The book launch".

I am not convinced that including event is always redundant as suggested by one user's answer. In my opinion, an event hints at a party, a stuffy presentation, or the opportunity to meet the book's author in person. A launch, on the other hand, could be limited to an official announcement in newspapers, radio and on social media. It could be rather low-key and on a tight budget.

  • Illness prevented her attending the launch party for her latest novel.
    Cambridge Dictionary

Remove "party" and the meaning changes.

  • The event got off to a shaky start with the stage lights failing in the first few minutes.
    Cambridge Dictionary

Replace event with launch and the reader would know what the event was and guess the venue was perhaps a theatre or television studio.

However, a book launch event sounds awkward to my ears. The following are suggestions but by omitting "event", the launch sounds less significant.

  1. The book launch planned to take place in Berlin last summer was cancelled
  2. The event planned for the book launch in Berlin was cancelled last summer.
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  • So you think ‘take place’ is better than ‘be held’?
    – Sasan
    Commented Sep 8, 2022 at 7:27
  • @Sasan it's not "better" I just think "take place" a little less formal sounding. It's down to style.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Sep 8, 2022 at 10:37
  • The choice between be held and take place may be significant because held suggests an event in the way in which take place doesn't.
    – jsw29
    Commented Sep 9, 2022 at 20:23
  • Incidentally, the ambiguity of book launch is parallel to that of opening, as applied to something like an exhibition. 'The opening will take place this Thursday' usually means that some sort of an event (party, reception, ceremony) will take place on Thursday, but it can mean merely that Thursday is the first day when the public will be able to view the exhibition.
    – jsw29
    Commented Sep 9, 2022 at 20:33

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