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I am reading a book and it has a grammar structure that I've never seen: Of + noun as subject of sentence:

Usually it should be noun + of + noun, The sentence's meaning does not really change when replacing it to "one particular importance" or "one of the particular importance", but since in a science book fancy style is not important, I think it means more than that. Oxford Dictionary does not give any example of this. So what is the name of this grammar structure and what does it do? Can I use it in the middle of sentence?

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    "Of particular importance" is not the subject. This is an example of subject-dependent inversion where the subject is the NP "the fact that such three-dimensional reflections again preserve symmetry", and the PP "of particular importance" is predicative complement. – BillJ Sep 17 '17 at 16:34
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When something is of importance it is important.

When something is of particular importance it is especially important.

The phrase is predicated (a fancy word for "said") of something:

{something} is "of importance".

Putting a phrase such as of importance at the beginning of the sentence is a way of emphasizing the phrase in order to tell the reader to pay special attention to what follows.

Staying hydrated when exercising in the heat is of particular importance.

Of particular importance when exercising in the heat is staying hydrated.

These two predications:

{a} is {b}

and

{b} is {a}

are equivalent.

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This sentence

Of particular importance is the fact that such three-dimensional reflections again preserve symmetry

could also be worded in any of the following ways:

The fact that such three-dimensional reflections again preserve symmetry is of particular importance

The fact that such three-dimensional reflections again preserve symmetry is a fact of particular importance

The fact that such three-dimensional reflections again preserve symmetry is particularly important

Particularly important is the fact that such three-dimensional reflections again preserve symmetry

(Note: You can't say "one particular importance", because "importance" is a mass noun.)

Oxford Living Dictionaries defines "be of" as follows. (Note: you have to scroll down the page until you find be of.)

Possess intrinsically; give rise to.

It gives examples such as:

‘this work is of great interest and value’

‘The rise in the rate of suicide amongst young people is of constant concern to our agency.’

‘Listen and make the other person feel that what he or she is saying is of interest to you.’

‘Many of the calls were of a difficult nature from distressed families with moving reports of missing people.’

‘The software will be of interest to schools and museums, as well as town planners.’

There are some further examples on the page.

  • Why does the sentence use only "of importance" instead of "being of importance"? – Ooker Sep 17 '17 at 13:55
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    @Ooker because "of importance" is not part of the subject. The version of "be" in that sentence is the word "is". The position of the subject is moved or inverted. – Dan Getz Sep 17 '17 at 14:47

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