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I want to ask someone what they heard about my country; whether it's positive things or negative things.

Can I say "What image do you have about my country?"

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  • Are you asking about someone's opinion about your country? There are several ways of saying this, and yours is pretty good.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Apr 10 at 7:01
  • You would not be misunderstood if you asked “What image do you have about (anything)?” but you would also not be strictly correct. An "image" is like a photograph or any other picture… it's always "of" and never "about" the subject. An image, photograph or any other picture might well say/have something to say about the subject but that is a different part of any language. the image itself is always "of…" the subject. Apr 11 at 19:45
16

To me the word "image" sounds unusual here, especially coupled with "about".

I think a more common way to ask this question would be "What impression do you have about my country?"

The meaning here of "impression" is

an idea, feeling, or opinion about something or someone, especially one formed without conscious thought or on the basis of little evidence. (Oxford Languages)

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    Or more simply "What do you think of my country?" "Image" is more commonly used when talking about a third party's (often a collective noun) perception.
    – GWP
    Apr 10 at 18:09
  • 7
    I think "What impression do you have of my country?" sounds way more natural (is "about" even correct?) Apr 11 at 9:43
15

We have an image (a mental picture) of something, not about it.

A chart from Google Ngram comparing the instances of image of (blue line), and image about (red line) enter image description here

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    Agree, but think ngrams is a unsuited for this.
    – Lambie
    Apr 10 at 16:24
  • 1
    @Lambie - Why? Many others have used it here to prove that a particular version of a phrase is the usual one. Apr 10 at 16:50
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    Mainly, because these types of questions are about spoken language and NGRAMS tracks written language. Anyway, one can imagine saying that an image can be about something, as opposed to of something. Those are different meanings, right? The OP is looking for "of" here.
    – Lambie
    Apr 10 at 16:52
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    The problem with ngrams here is that we are looking specifically for "image of/about my country" (a metaphorical sense of image) and the ngrams graph will pick up lots of "image of a scene in a lens, or the image of the triangle after reflection in the line. Which are different senses of "image"
    – James K
    Apr 10 at 21:13
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    Even worse, ngrams will pick up the words "image of" in contexts where they're not even in the same sentence. Ngrams is a useful tool, but it's important to be aware of its limitations.
    – barbecue
    Apr 11 at 5:10
7

The corpus from english-corpora.org/coca/ contains a few instances of "image about".

Sadly the website really dislikes hotlinking, so any users who would like to personally repeat the results I have found will need to perform a (free) registration and enter the query themselves.

But here are a few examples:

  • This greatly affirmed their own image about their capabilities and potential to be college successes.
  • I just want to tell that story to the world, so we can change this monolithic image about' Black America' and the inner city.
  • On another page it continued with a grisly image about the meaning of TIT's work, " to transform the inside of a murky coffin into a carousel of the decapitated. "
  • I agree with Zach that if I'm not confronting other people with their behaviour (for example colleagues talking me down, stepping on my toes to show how well they do) they are forming a mental image about me that is incorrect and allows them to continue that behaviour.
  • You've got to present a crisp, clear and compelling -- as well as authentic -- image about who you are, which is what we now call your personal brand.
  • This greatly affirmed their own image about their capabilities and potential to be college successes.
  • I believe that the truth about the Kosovo and Metochia problem and situation should finally start to be known in this country because your people has been manipulated for months and years and has been given one very false image about our policy, our objectives and the policy and objectives of Albanian separatists and terrorists.
  • In fact, a military's involvement in politics can involve a whole continuum, from minimal to maximal influence, depending on the ability of the civilian political leadership to hold on to power, the state of internal and external threats, and the officer corps' image about its role and place in society.
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  • Did you do a similar search for 'image of' and compare frequencies?
    – Mitch
    May 6 at 13:34
6

It sounds perfectly okay to me. It may well be the sort of construction I would use myself, as a native English speaker.

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    Maybe the OP is nostalgic and would like to see some photos...? How can we be sure? Highly unlikely, I know but I think an answer like this is really appropriate as a comment but without even citing the sentence it's pretty bare.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Apr 10 at 6:59
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    Don't we usually have an image of something, not about something? I think impression would also be much more idiomatic (what's your impression of X?) unless the asker is really interested in a mental image (imagined visual reality).
    – TypeIA
    Apr 10 at 7:14
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    @TypeIA Of, about, whatever. IMO they're both good. You can say this in many different ways. The question being asked was that if the given construct was correct or not. If you genuinely believe it is not correct, then write it as an answer and mark mine down. Apr 10 at 7:37
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    @Mari-LouA Sorry, I'm new here. Is there an accepted minimum size limit for an answer? Apr 10 at 7:37
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    @Void It's also based on 4 decades of listening to native speakers (I am one). Please cite some evidence that native speakers say "images about" in this context, and I will retract my vote.
    – TypeIA
    Apr 10 at 20:05

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