1) War and peace is a novel by Leo Tolstoy.
2) War and peace is a novel of Leo Tolstoy.
3) War and peace is Leo Tolstoy's novel.

An English language test which I have passed told me that only the first variant is correct. I doubt a little about that. Which variant is indeed correct, or the best of the three variants mentioned above?

  • As a stand-alone sentence, I would agree that the first is the best. But as you say, they are all correct, though, normally, we would probably say, "War and Peace is a novel of Leo Tolstoy's" (adding the possessive apostrophe -s). And the third one is less common, I feel. – Teacher KSHuang Mar 14 '17 at 8:29
  • 1
    Had your tests been testing for prepositions? Or sentence construction? – Teacher KSHuang Mar 14 '17 at 8:33
  • Teacher KSHuang, it was a complex test about almost all English grammar. From articles and prepositions to conditional sentences. Very good test, although some questions are ambiguous. – Alexander Mar 16 '17 at 20:20
  • I see. I ask because if you are trying to decide on sentence construction for meaning, I would suggest the first one. But if you're just asking about grammatical correctness, then, yes, they're all correct. – Teacher KSHuang Mar 17 '17 at 7:57

All of these sentences are grammatically correct but the first is the only one that conveys the correct meaning.

2) War and peace is a novel of Leo Tolstoy.

The problem with this is that we use the preposition of to refer to the subject matter of a book: "..a novel of adventure, intrigue and romance" or "... a novel of Pakistan". See this for more examples.

3) War and peace is Leo Tolstoy's novel.

This would only work if Tolstoy had written just one novel. You could instead say:

War and peace is one of Leo Tolstoy's novels.
War and peace is Leo Tolstoy's novel about the French invasion of Russia.

  • 1
    Wouldn't number two be better written as: War and P eace is a novel of Leo Tolstoy 's? – Davo Mar 14 '17 at 15:31
  • @Davo: yes, that would work. – JavaLatte Mar 14 '17 at 15:46

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.