1. to reduce the costs of generating electricity.
  2. to reduce the costs of electric power generation.
  3. to reduce the costs for electric power generation.

I have two questions: (1)is 2) equal in meaning to 1) and which is clearer and used more often. (2) which preposition should I opt for, for or of

  • They're all fine, as would be all versions with singular cost, those with just power instead of electric[al] power, and other variations. There's really nothing here worth "learning", unless you're interested in the fact that singular "cost" is more common. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Jan 9 '19 at 13:32
  • Is there any difference between the plural form and the singular form? – Mike Philip Jan 9 '19 at 13:40
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    In principle, yes (plural implies multiple contributory cost factors, singular implies lumping them all together into a "total cost"). But in practice, few people would ever consider things like that in most contexts. Really, I can't see that you're going to get anything useful out of this question - even if all you're doing is effectively asking us to "proofread" your text. There is no "single, unambiguously correct" answer, and most or all discussion about the merits or demerits of specific phrasing would just be opinions. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Jan 9 '19 at 13:57
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    ...for what it's worth, my opinion is that plain reduce the cost of generation is short and to the point for most contexts. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Jan 9 '19 at 14:10

Depending on your context they read very slightly differently:

2 reads in a very slightly more general way than 1, suggesting also the costs to the environment and humanity as a whole, but that may only be to a British English speaker's ear.

3 suggests a narrowing, for example "For this project which is already over-budget, what can we do to reduce the costs for electric power generation". Otherwise the preposition "for" seems awkward.

Again all of them are fine, but 1 is simpler and reads better, but I'd expect to see 2 rather than 1 in a government communique, as it sounds more pompous.

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  • Forgive me if I get this wrong. Why should be government communique be pompous? I mean it should be as accessible to the general public as possible, otherwise ordinary people may not know what the government is talking about. – Mike Philip Jan 9 '19 at 14:41
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    The expression sounds more formal or official - rather than pompous! – Ronald Sole Jan 9 '19 at 17:41
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    Mike Philip - we're into the realm of personal opinion here. In a perfect world they wouldn't be, but in my experience they tend to be written in a house style which is harder to parse, with a tendency to use phrases which are intended sound impressive but contain no benefit of a simpler phrase. There are some gems on the internet but "High-quality learning environments are a necessary precondition for facilitation and enhancement of the ongoing learning process." is a good example. – james Jan 10 '19 at 7:50

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