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I was having a conversation with a friend, telling him that over time, I've started to dislike a certain genre of music:

I've grown a strong disliking for Dubstep.

As though my liking for Dubstep has gradually decreased over a set period of time. Now, I'm starting to question whether the use of for is correct. Have I grown a strong disliking for Dubstep, or have I grown a strong disliking of Dubstep? They both seem proper to me, but I'd like to be sure.

Is there a difference between the two?

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  • 1
    Try saying 'strong dislike for', instead.
    – Kris
    Commented May 8, 2012 at 2:02
  • 2
    Zolani13, Can I suggest waiting for a few more answers before accepting mine? There are some really smart cookies out there who provide good answers all day and night long. (Really, my feelings won't be hurt if you "unaccept" this.)
    – JLG
    Commented May 8, 2012 at 2:39
  • Sure, np. But it has been a while since the question launched, no? Is it okay now?
    – Zolani13
    Commented May 8, 2012 at 22:04

2 Answers 2

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First, I think I would use the noun dislike.

And then it seems to be a matter of whether you speak British English or talk American English. Compare this NGram for American English: enter image description here

and this for British English: enter image description here


Interestingly, if you remove the "a strong" from the search terms, you get [as Barrie England points out in his answer and zpletan in his comment], a more pronounced preference for dislike of, especially in British English. If you search for "a dislike of/for", adding the article a, a dislike of is still preferred but only by a slim margin in American English. (I didn't add those graphs, but you can create the NGram using the links provided.)

Compare this NGram of dislike of/for in American English enter image description here

And this NGram of dislike of/for in British English: enter image description here

The bottom line is that dislike of is preferred, but both dislike of and dislike for are used, understandable, and mean the same thing. (That is, you are no longer fond of Dubstep.)

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  • Do you prefer "dislike" over "a disliking" because it's simpler?
    – Zolani13
    Commented May 8, 2012 at 2:24
  • See the link to the definition of dislike I gave. I believe it is what you meant. (Disliking is the present participle of the verb dislike.)
    – JLG
    Commented May 8, 2012 at 2:34
  • The Ngrams results with less specific search terms are interesting. In both British and American English, "dislike of" beats "dislike for" by a wide margin. However, the results for "a dislike of/for" show that the two are about even overall and in AmE, but in BrE "of" still is more popular. As a whole, these results suggest that "of" is the "more correct" one. (However, as an American, I would use "for" in my own usage.)
    – zpletan
    Commented May 8, 2012 at 3:50
  • Yes. I checked "dislike of/for" and "a dislike of/for" and saw what you mentioned, too. I decided to show the graphs with the phrases closer to the OP's wording.
    – JLG
    Commented May 8, 2012 at 4:45
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A search of the Corpus of Contemporary American English and the British National Corpus shows that dislike is much more frequent overall than disliking and that while BrEng and AmEng both show a strong preference for dislike of over dislike for, the preference is more pronounced in BrEng.

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