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RE: On the use of preposition "of" in chemical texts

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  • Simon Vollam
    Hi Dusan, ... Well, it s seven years since I last worked as a chemist (apart from the occasional chemical translating job), but I would say that the of is
    Message 1 of 3 , Nov 4, 2002
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      Hi Dusan,

      > "An unknown compound decomposes to produce 0.800 g of solid
      > sulfur and 0.560 of hydrogen gas." (I)
      >
      > "When 10.3 g of a particular sample of freon is decomposed, it
      > produces 2.24 dm^3 chlorine gas, 1.12 dm^3 hydrogen gas, and 1.12
      > dm^3 fluorine gas". (II)
      >
      > What's the difference between these two sentences from the point
      > of view of using the "of" preposition? Is it really the same if
      > one says "Weigh 1 kg of gold" or "Weigh 1 kg gold?"

      Well, it's seven years since I last worked as a chemist (apart from the
      occasional chemical translating job), but I would say that the 'of' is
      optional in this context, that there is no difference in the meaning, and
      that both options are widely used. Purists might say that sentence I is more
      grammatical, whereas pragmatists might prefer sentence II (especially if you
      have a list of several compounds - on the grounds of ellipsis). I also have
      a feeling that preferences might differ in BrE and AmE, for example. I'm
      British, and sentence I sounds a little more natural to me. But maybe the
      Americans (and others) on the list have a different opinion.

      Simon
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