I intend to say something like

The grand unified theory in particle physics claims over a certain high energy, the electromagnetic force, the strong nuclear force and the weak nuclear force are united as a single force.

Is the preposition "as" above used properly? Or should I replace it by "into" or "in" or "to be"?

I found several analogous examples in Oxford Living Dictionary for unite:

‘What Newton did to simplify the planetary motions must now be done to unite in one whole the various isolated theories of mathematical physics.’

‘Well, by adding this essay, the problem and the answer are united in a comprehensive whole.’

‘The actress added how mutual cooperation made them unite into one whole being and stop thinking about who is a better partner.’

wherein either "in" or "into" is used for this function. Can "as" or "to be" also be used here?


You could say unite instead of are united.

They unite as a single force.

But both are OK.

The verb unite refers to what they do. The adjective are united refers to what has happened to them, a state they have entered.

At a certain energy level, they unite.

Beyond a certain energy level, they are united.


I think that your usage of 'united' is fine

However, can I suggest other improvements to the sentence?

I think that the opening should read

A grand unified theory in particle physics claims that over a certain high energy, ...

I believe that there is more than one GUT [wikipedia], so thats why I suggest to use A.

p.s. great to see some particle physics here :)

  • Maybe you are correct. I just have the impression that a book in particle physics mentions grand unified theory (GUT) unites the three gauge fields without elaborating the contents of GUT. But now as you mention it, I think of there are many quantum field theories instead of just one, then there should be more than one GUT. Thanks for reminding. Nevertheless, my question is whether using the preposition "as" for "unite" is fine. I look up "as" in thefreedictionary.com/as and en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/as, not seeing an illustration of "as" used in a similar way. Jun 27 '18 at 19:49
  • Seems fair. I would still suggest adding a that either way.
    – Lim
    Jun 27 '18 at 20:02
  • You must have good eyes, Lim. Jun 27 '18 at 20:06

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.