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Would a native speaker say "They are great parts of art", if I am talking about music and dance? And if I am talking about one thing, for example, photography can I say "It's a great part of art"? Is it grammatically correct and natural?

Perhaps I should use "an art form" and "art forms" instead? Do native speakers prefer "art forms" and "an art form" instead of "a form of art" and "forms of art"? For example, "It's a beautiful art form." Not "It's a beautiful form of art." Or "They are beautiful art forms." Instead of "They are beautiful forms of art."

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    “parts of art” is not something a native speaker would say. Depending on the intended message perhaps “forms of art” or “art forms” just “arts” might be better options.
    – jwpfox
    Commented Nov 25, 2020 at 9:24
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    I think the choices you are giving in your edit are equally fine and just a matter of taste or preference.
    – jwpfox
    Commented Nov 25, 2020 at 9:29
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    We sometimes say "great works of art" for individual pieces, and this can refer to music, literature, painting, sculpture etc. So you can say of a photograph "This is a (great) work of art." Aside: it does not have to be beautiful, but expressive. Commented Nov 25, 2020 at 9:31
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    Perhaps "art form" is a better generalisation. We don't say "parts of art". Commented Nov 25, 2020 at 9:35
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    form of art is by far the more likely way you will hear it. Much like you will hear "state of the art" and not "art state"
    – eps
    Commented Nov 25, 2020 at 17:57

1 Answer 1

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  1. Photography is a fascinating art form.

  2. Photography is a fascinating form of art.

On the face of it, these mean the same thing.

I personally detect a slight difference. Sentence (1) assumes the reader already knows that photography is an art form. It merely tells us that it is a fascinating one. Sentence (2) informs us that photography is a form of art. It adds in passing that is fascinating.

Notice that this difference could be made explicit by emphasising certain words when reading or speaking the sentences, e.g.

Photography is a fascinating art form.

vs

Photography is a fascinating form of art.

Let's see if others agree with this distinction.

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    It's much the same distinction with artwork / work of art. So The Mona Lisa is a work of art sounds completely natural, but the "unqualified" form The Mona Lisa is an artwork seems more than a little "odd" (whereas the "qualified" form The Mona Lisa is a unique artwork is fine). Commented Nov 25, 2020 at 13:07
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    Art form just sounds like something a robot would say. This art form is nice to look at bbzzzzttt brrrrrrrrr
    – eps
    Commented Nov 25, 2020 at 17:59
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    I agree that both versions are fine and both have subtly different implications... to me, the difference is that "form of art" emphasizes that we're discussing a specific type of art, a particular subset of all forms of artistic expression. Unless verbal emphasis is used to the contrary, I'd interpret "art form" to refer generically to just any ol' form of art.
    – A C
    Commented Nov 25, 2020 at 20:06

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