3
  1. The price of gasoline is rising.
  2. Gasoline prices are rising.

My understanding of the above two sentences is that they both describe a general situation about gasoline prices, not a specific situation.

My question is, if we add the word "of" or remove it, and then change the order of words in the phrase, are they still grammatically right, or can we still equally say
3. The gasoline price is rising. (as compared to sentence 1)
4. Prices of gasoline are rising. (as compared to sentence 2)

to describe the price of gasoline in a general sense? And more importantly, why?

1

The phrase 'gasoline price' nearly always refers to the general sense, simply because that's how people interpret it.

To talk about 'the price of gasoline' or 'gasoline prices' or 'the gasoline price' or 'prices of gasoline' or however you can mess around with the phrase will almost always mean the general sense.

To make it specific, you can apply some context:

The price at gasoline at this shop.

These gasoline prices.

Giving some context or location makes the phrase more specific, but otherwise it will be assumed you're speaking generally.

I don't know why this came about, but I'd put money on assuming 'gasoline prices' are just that fun to talk about that the phrase became a household topic.

  • @ MMJZ I noticed that you did not say "the gasoline price at this shop" nor "these prices of gasoline". But that is exactly what I want to know : do sentences 3 and 4 make sense? And why? – user4140 Apr 11 '14 at 16:07
  • They are correct, but they aren't as natural as the others. I don't know why adding in one word or switching two words around makes such a difference in how natural it sounds, but the first two sentences are heard far more often than the last two. – MMJZ Apr 11 '14 at 19:08
1

Sentences 1, 2, 3 are correct. The fourth is, at a minimum, odd. The reason is that a sentence like "the price of gasoline is rising across the country" already allows for the idea that the starting price can be different in different parts of the country, so why use the plural?

Saying "prices of gasoline are rising" seems to emphasize the idea that gasoline prices are different in different places (which is not the focus of the sentence) in a way that "gasoline prices are rising" are not.

That's why this sentence would be perfectly correct:

"Prices for gasoline vary across the country."

  • Why would you use "for" instead of "of" in your last example? – Kinzle B Apr 12 '14 at 3:08
  • It sounds better to me, but I've done some googling and it looks like people are more or less evenly split between saying "prices for" and "prices of". So either is okay. – Merk Apr 12 '14 at 3:16

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