In this article :

Black people continue to suffer a vastly disproportionate death rate from the disease, the review shows.

The preposition "from" seems to go with "death" not "rate". So, would replacing "death rate from" with "rate of death from" be better?


You can use either one, death rate or rate of death. They are the same thing. Death rate however is the more common one.

The death in death rate is a noun that is acting as an adjective. It's called an attributive noun.

The from belongs to death rate as a whole, not just to death.

  • I don't much like the implications of that first sentence. Per this NGram, a disproportionate rate of death has virtually no currency (a mere 37 instance in total, in the entire Google Books corpus). – FumbleFingers Jul 6 '14 at 15:35
  • @FumbleFingers, death rate has 591 hits in the COCA corpus; rate of death has 22. They clearly have the same meaning, and both are used by native speakers. I did say that death rate is more common. – Dangph Jul 6 '14 at 15:40
  • Becase the word disproportionate won't occur all that often, perhaps my previous NGram didn't underline the relative prevalences so clearly. But looking at this one it's hard to say OP's suggested "improvement" has much going for it as even a "credible" alternative. – FumbleFingers Jul 6 '14 at 15:52
  • 1
    @FumbleFingers, I didn't agree that it was an improvement. I would say that death rate is better because it is more common. But the fact is that both "X rate" and "rate of X" are standard forms in the English language. – Dangph Jul 6 '14 at 16:00
  • Well, I've made my point. If you want to defend the exact phrasing of your first two sentences despite my concerns over the implications (that the two forms are largely "equivalent" in terms of suitability), there's nothing more I can usefully say on the matter. But given OP is only asking the question because he thinks his version is better, that doesn't seem to me to be the right way to respond. – FumbleFingers Jul 6 '14 at 16:03

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