this post gives a nice explanation about "is of"

A preposition phrase headed by of is a common way of attributing a quality to a noun, either as a modifier or as a predicate

and gives this example

This approach is of value. = This approach ‘possesses’ value, “it is valuable”.

follow this pattern

I am trying to understand this sentence

Acoustic absorption is of particular interest in soundproofing.

and got this

Acoustic absorption possesses particular interest in soundproofing.

which seems to be in a opposite order.

It is more reasonable to say soundproofing possesses interest in acoustic absorption.

what am I missing?

  • 1
    You're missing the party who has the interest. That's probably because that party isn't mentioned explicitly in the original sentence. The interested party is anyone dealing with soundproofing. So you could say, "Anyone dealing with soundproofing will have a particular interest in acoustic absorption." Possess isn't a natural expression with interest.
    – user105719
    Jan 27, 2020 at 2:55
  • @user105719 What does "party" mean here?
    – zghqh
    Jan 27, 2020 at 3:27
  • Sorry, that must have been misleading. In this context, "party" just means a person relevant to the discussion.
    – user105719
    Jan 27, 2020 at 5:44
  • See here for some other examples of this use of "of".
    – nschneid
    Sep 5, 2021 at 15:07

2 Answers 2


In this situation, by "possesses" he meant "has that quality". It refers to something internal to the object, rather than an external type of possession of something other than itself.

"Katie possesses the violin." No.
"Katie possesses talent." Yes.

The quality under discussion here is "being interesting". The "interesting acoustic absorption."

The entire sentence may be rewritten:

Acoustic absorption is particularly interesting when discussing the topic of soundproofing.


Idiomatic usage:

to be of value, of great value, of little value
to be of interest, of some interest, of no interest, of great interest, etc.

and to be of interest or value implies TO someone.

You can put adjectives in front of value and interest.

So, this: Acoustic absorption is of particular interest [to me or DIYers or builders] in soundproofing.

Here, you cannot use possess. As possesses interest for me is very stilted here. So is "possess value" here. An object may possess value, but one wouldn't say soundproofing possesses value.

Possess is transitive: He possesses many books on that subject.

You can explain it by saying this approach possesses value but it doesn't sound like good writing.

And, finally, only a person can possess an interest in something.

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