What is the difference between the two, and which one of the following is correct? 1) Your country's experience of democracy. 2) Your country's experience with democracy.

  • They're very similar aren't they? To me the first sounds as if the country has been a democracy. The second could be asked of a country which hasn't, though it may have had brief spells of democracy, or it may have had dealings with democratic countries, or it may have suppressed internal pro-democracy movements. The first sounds more idiomatic to me: more natural than the second, which sounds very slightly 'pointed'. Oct 26 '19 at 15:54

Both prepositions, of and with work after experience but the choice is likely to depend on the context. For example, it is more natural to say:

I don't have much experience of mountain climbing

indicating that the speaker is relatively new to mountain climbing and implying that s/he would not wish to tackle difficult climbs. On the other hand, you might say:

I don't have much experience with John at the helm
I don't have much experience with this particular model

indicating that your limited experience is not of John, but with his leadership - and with driving a particular vehicle.

Google Books Ngram Viewer indicates that of is about three times as popular as with in this context.

In some examples, including those you give, both prepositions are idiomatic and the meaning is the same.


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.