of

[[t]əv, STRONG ɒv, AM ʌv[/t]]
(In addition to the uses shown below, of is used after some verbs, nouns, and adjectives in order to introduce extra information. Of is also used in phrasal prepositions such as `because of', `instead of' and `in spite of', and in phrasal verbs such as `make of' and `dispose of'.)
1) PREP: n PREP n You use of to combine two nouns when the first noun identifies the feature of the second noun that you want to talk about.

The average age of the women interviewed was only 21.5.

...the population of this town...

The aim of the course is to help students to comprehend the structure of contemporary political and social systems.

2) PREP: n PREP n/-ing You use of to combine two nouns, or a noun and a present participle, when the second noun or present participle defines or gives more information about the first noun.

Would you say what you felt was a feeling of betrayal?...

She let out a little cry of pain.

...the problem of a national shortage of teachers.

...an idealized but hazy notion of world socialism.

...the recession of 1974-75...

This has been a good chance of meeting up with everyone again.

3) PREP: n PREP n You use of after nouns referring to actions to specify the person or thing that is affected by the action or that performs the action. For example, `the kidnapping of the child' refers to an action affecting a child; `the arrival of the next train' refers to an action performed by a train.

...the reduction of trade union power inside the party.

...the assessment of future senior managers.

...the death of their father.

...the Marriage of Figaro.

4) PREP: quant PREP n, n PREP n You use of after words and phrases referring to quantities or groups of things to indicate the substance or thing that is being measured.

...7.6 litres of pure alcohol.

...a few kilometres of new roads.

...dozens of people.

...billions of dollars.

...groups of protestors.

...a collection of short stories...

A flock of birds flew towards us slowly from far away.

5) PREP: n PREP n You use of after the name of someone or something to introduce the institution or place they belong to or are connected with.

...the Prince of Wales.

...the Finance Minister of Bangladesh.

...the superb rock-hewn Cave Temples of Badami.

6) PREP: n PREP n You use of after a noun referring to a container to form an expression referring to the container and its contents.

We could all do with a cup of tea...

Conder opened another bottle of wine...

Marta drank a glass of juice.

...a box of tissues.

...a packet of cigarettes.

...a roomful of people.

7) PREP: n PREP n You use of after a count noun and before an uncount noun when you want to talk about an individual piece or item.

...a blade of grass...

Marina ate only one slice of bread...

With a stick of chalk he wrote her order on a blackboard.

8) PREP: n PREP n You use of to indicate the materials or things that form something.

...local decorations of wood and straw.

...loose-fitting garments of linen.

...a mixture of paint-thinner and petrol.

9) PREP: n PREP n You use of after a noun which specifies a particular part of something, to introduce the thing that it is a part of.

...the other side of the square...

We had almost reached the end of the street.

...the beginning of the year...

Edward disappeared around 9.30pm on the 23rd of July.

...the core of the problem.

10) PREP: v PREP n/-ing, v n PREP n/-ing You use of after some verbs to indicate someone or something else involved in the action.

He'd been dreaming of her...

Listen, I shall be thinking of you always...

Her parents did not approve of her decision...

The Americans cannot accuse him of ignoring the problem...

The elderly relative had died of old age.

11) PREP: adj PREP n/-ing You use of after some adjectives to indicate the thing that a feeling or quality relates to.

I have grown very fond of Alec...

His father was quite naturally very proud of him...

I think everyone was scared of her...

She would be guilty of betraying her own mother.

12) PREP: adj PREP pron/n-proper You use of before a word referring to the person who performed an action when saying what you think about the action.

This has been so nice, so terribly kind of you...

I suppose it's stupid of us not to be able to make up our own minds...

That's certainly very generous of you Tony.

13) PREP: a n PREP a n You use of after a noun which describes someone or something, to introduce the person or thing you are talking about.

...an awkward, slow-moving giant of a man.

14) PREP: more/less PREP a n If something is more of or less of a particular thing, it is that thing to a greater or smaller degree.

Your extra fat may be more of a health risk than you realize...

As time goes by, sleeping becomes less of a problem.

15) PREP: n PREP n, adj-superl PREP n You use of to indicate a characteristic or quality that someone or something has.

...the worth of their music.

...the creaminess of her skin...

She is a woman of enviable beauty.

...a matter of overwhelming importance...

The new deal was considered to be the most generous of its kind.

16) PREP: be PREP n You use of after the verb `be' to indicate a characteristic or quality that someone or something has. [FORMAL]

The crisis faced over the next few months is of an entirely different scale...

Both world wars were of unquestionable importance as economic events.

17) PREP: n PREP amount You use of to specify an amount, value, or age.

Last Thursday, Nick announced record revenues of $3.4 billion...

He has been sentenced to a total of 21 years in prison since 1973...

The last figures so far this year indicate a rise of 13.8%.

...young people under the age of 16 years...

I feel like a girl of 18.

18) PREP: n PREP n/-ing You use of after a noun such as `month' or `year' to indicate the length of time that some state or activity continues.

...eight bruising years of war...

The project has gone through nearly a dozen years of planning.

19) PREP You can use of to say what time it is by indicating how many minutes there are before the hour mentioned. [AM]

At about a quarter of eight in the evening Joe Urber calls...

We got to the beach at five of one in the afternoon.


English dictionary. 2008.


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