0

Is the following sentence idiomatic/usual?

"Topic x corresponds to one of the most studied topics in sociology."

I can't say if it's ok or not. This construction is fine in my native language, but in english, despite working, I'm not sure I've seen it a lot to be sure it's ok.

From what found, corresponds to "is used more when two things are analogous or similar, such as:

...all of which correspond to real numbers..."

which sounds fine to me. Not the same to "the most studied topic in sociology", because it looks like an odd equivalence with "topic x".

An alternative construction is to remove corresponds to altogether:

"Topic x is one of the most studied topics in sociology."

Do both sentences sound the same?

5
  • Being a fan of plain English I’d always prefer “is” rather than “corresponds to”. I’d expect the later only in very formal written discussion. Commented Feb 6, 2020 at 3:27
  • @OrbitalAussie, It's actually in a formal medium (I should have stated that in my question). So, from what I'm seeing, it's a fine construct, then?
    – Yamaneko
    Commented Feb 6, 2020 at 13:20
  • 1
    There is another issue with the sentence. “Corresponds to” is used to draw an analogy, or point out a relationship, between similar things. Here the topic is “one of the most studied...”. There is no relationship being pointed out between distinct items. Correct usage would be something like, “The wings of a bat correspond to the forelegs of other mammals.” They are not forelegs but they correspond to forelegs. Commented Feb 6, 2020 at 20:13
  • I should mention the other, less common meanings of “corresponds to” given in the linked answer. Neither of them can fit your sentence. We are not taking about an exchange of letters and there is no “harmony” or accord being discussed. There is only a descriptive statement being made about the frequency with which the topic is studied. Commented Feb 6, 2020 at 20:42
  • That makes sense! Thank you. Would you like to post it as an answer?
    – Yamaneko
    Commented Feb 7, 2020 at 5:13

1 Answer 1

1

“Corresponds to” is most often used to draw an analogy, or point out a relationship, between similar things. But here the topic simply is “one of the most studied...” — there is no relationship being pointed out between distinct items, just one item being described.

Compare this example, correctly using “corresponds to”:

“The wings of a bat correspond to the front legs of other mammals.” (The wings are not the bat’s front legs, but they correspond to front legs.)

with this similar example, where “corresponds to” doesn’t fit:

“The wings of a bat are its front limbs.” (The wings don’t correspond to its front limbs, they are its front limbs.)

The other less common meanings of “correspond“ (described here) don’t fit your sentence. We are not taking about an exchange of letters or emails and there is no “harmony” or “accord” being discussed. There is only a descriptive statement being made about the frequency with which a topic is studied.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .