"for" or "of"

Mark A. Mandel mamandel at LDC.UPENN.EDU
Wed Aug 18 16:25:16 UTC 2004

 Dave Hause <dwhause at JOBE.NET> wrote:


And why are they roughly equal in the medical community?  Having thought
myself reasonably literate as physicians go and after subscribing to this
list for almost 2 years, I'm not sure I understand your reason and I'd bet
less than 2% of my physician colleagues would.
Dave Hause, dwhause at jobe.net
Ft. Leonard Wood, MO
----- Original Message -----
From: "Mark A. Mandel" <mamandel at LDC.UPENN.EDU>
>³...reduce your risk for a heart attack or stroke.²
>³...reduce your risk of a heart attack or stroke.²

I'll give you a reason: "of" is the default preposition to mark the object
of a nominalized verb.


Are you asking me why they are roughly equal in the medical community, which 
I did not say and have no idea about? Are you SAYING that they are roughly 
equal in the medical community? And are you saying that you don't understand 
my terminology or that you don't understand my reasoning?

"A nominalized verb" means a noun that is derived from a verb and refers to 
the same action as the verb does:
	hatred : hate
	love : love
	analysis : analyze
	dictation : dictate

So much for the terminology, I hope; what's left of it should be made clear 
by the following. Now for the reasoning.

She hates bigotry.
Her hatred of bigotry sends her to demonstrations all over the country.

I love chocolate.
My love of chocolate costs me $20 a week.

You say you have analyzed this sample of river water.
But your results are identical with your analysis of chocolate milk.

I am dictating this text with Dragon NaturallySpeaking.
Dictation of text is substantially different from dictation of program code.

Sometimes the object of a nominalized verb can be or is expressed with a 
different preposition than "of": "my love for you". But that depends on the 
verb and even the context: ?"my love for chocolate" sound strange, at least 
to me, and I think to most native American English speakers. In the absence 
of such particular circumstances, "of" is used; that's what "default" means 
in programming and in other contexts referring to rules and generalizations.

If in fact they are roughly equal in usage in the medical community -- a 
statistic as to which, as I said, I have no information -- that would be a 
fact about this technical dialect. The reason for it would be a subject of 
further investigation. 

-- Mark A. Mandel, Linguistic Data Consortium
   University of Pennsylvania
   [This text prepared with Dragon NaturallySpeaking.]

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