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This is the original sentence:

This novel has to do with peasant life after the reform.

We cannot say

This novel concerns peasant life after the reform.

but we can say

This is a novel concerning peasant life after the reform.

What is the difference between the second sentence and the third? How to understand the meaning of the word ‘concerns’?

  • Why do you think we can't say "This novel concerns peasant life after the reform"? – AIQ Oct 2 at 8:03
  • @AIQ The book says: They have different meanings. – Y. zeng Oct 2 at 8:04
  • Y. zeng, yes that is something you can include in your question; doing so will help us understand your problem better. What does your book say? And which book? – AIQ Oct 2 at 8:06
  • @AIQ This book’s ISBN is 9787560019406. It does not say it clearly. For I am a student, I can not tell the difference. – Y. zeng Oct 2 at 8:08
  • @Y.zengThat's 'New Concept English' apparently. – Old Brixtonian Oct 2 at 9:02
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You can say either. They are both correct English, but they answer slightly different questions.

Question:
What is that novel about?
Answer:
This novel concerns peasant life after the reform.

Question:
What have you got in your hand?
or
What is that book?
Answer:
This is a novel concerning peasant life after the reform.

You asked about the word 'contains'. I assume you meant the word 'concerns'. As the first definition HERE explains, it means 'relates to' or 'is about'.

This novel is about peasant life...
This is a novel about peasant life...
This novel concerns peasant life...
This is a novel concerning peasant life...

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