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Belonging to a thing , as something related in a way defined or implied by its nature Options
rob
Posted: Monday, September 6, 2010 9:26:11 AM
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Joined: 3/17/2010
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Location: Inside the Blackhole.
I have decided that of 'of' was too general, so I have created this forum for the specific and exclusive discussion of definition 50 as stated in the O.E.D. for 'of':

Belonging to a thing , as something related in a way defined or implied by its nature.

I have learned from the forum "of 'of'" how quickly this subject can get off the topic, so I will do all modifications to the topic only at the beginning of this forum, but if anyone is interested, chapter X in the book that I mentioned at the beginning of the "of 'of'" forum it is available at google book preview where Martin briefly discusses each of the O.E.D. definitions of 'of.' I also found this excellent discussion at a web site called Maverick Philosopher:

A. Subjective Uses of 'Of.' 'The presidency of Bill Clinton was rocked by scandal.' 'The redness of her face betrayed her embarrasment.' 'She cited the lateness of the hour as her reason for leaving.' The presidency of Bill Clinton is Bill Clinton's presidency. And similarly in the other two examples.

Here 'of' expresses possession or belonging. The sharpness of the knife is the knife's sharpness. The wife of Tom is Tom's wife. The uncle of the monkey is the monkey's uncle. The ace of spades is the ace belonging to the spade suit. A jack of all trades is all trades' jack. Of course, if you want to be understood in English you cannot say, 'Marvin is all trades' jack.' But that's irrelevant.

The set of natural numbers is the natural numbers' set. The set of all sets is all sets' set.

'Several are the senses of "of."' The 'of' which is used -- as opposed to mentioned -- functions subjectively inasmuch as the thought could be put as follows: '"Of"'s senses are several.'

The square root of -1 is -1's square root.


This topic is so general that I would request that any answers not follow this pattern please:
Epimenides (c. 7 century B.C.) once made a long pilgrimage to meet Buddha. When he finally met him, Epimenides said, "I have come to ask a question. What is the best question that can be asked and what is the best answer that can be given?"

Buddha replied, "The best question that can be asked is the question you have just asked, and the best answer that can be given is the answer I am giving."

grammargeek
Posted: Monday, September 6, 2010 12:22:12 PM
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Joined: 3/21/2009
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Of "of" is of a category I like to call "Threads GG began reading but did not continue," so I don't know exactly what you are going for here that was not said there. I do not have access to the O.E.D., but you say you want to focus on this definition of "of":

Belonging to a thing , as something related in a way defined or implied by its nature.

Are you wanting to know about using an "of" construction rather than a possessive form? If so, here are some examples:

the arms of the chair

the top of the page

the bark of the tree

the door of the house

the steering wheel of the car

the drawers of the file cabinet
Jyrkkä Jätkä
Posted: Monday, September 6, 2010 12:35:45 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/21/2009
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Neurons: 598,978
Location: Helsinki, Southern Finland Province, Finland
And because of...
we say human nature
not nature of human ;-)

mohican
Posted: Monday, September 6, 2010 3:12:43 PM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 8/24/2010
Posts: 284
Neurons: 848
Location: Poland
'of' with preceding and following it nouns is used for possessions. When the 'possessor' noun is an inanimate one then the construction with 'of' can be replaced by a noun phrase in which the following noun (possessor) becomes an adjectival modifier of the preceding one:

the door of the car = the car door,
the hold of the vessel = the vessel hold.

In such noun phrases the first noun (in attributive position) is singular:

the doors of the cars = the car doors,
the holds of the vessels = the vessel holds.

Note: the 'A + of + B' construction cannot always be replaced by the 'B + A' combination, especially with nouns of quantity:
a chunk of stone , a piece of cake, a lump of clay, a slice of bread, etc.
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