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Are these sentences interchangeable?

  • I wouldn't hate someone because they are a particular ethnicity/nationality/race

  • I wouldn't hate someone because they are of a particular ethnicity/nationality/race

I know in questions, we can say, "What ethnicity/nationality/race are you" instead of "What ethnicity/nationality/race are you of." I think it might be wrong to omit "of" in sentences other than questions.

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  • to be a nationality and to belong to an ethnic group. Forget race.
    – Lambie
    Commented Jun 16, 2021 at 21:01

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I think you're confusing two sentences because the context of the sentences makes them equivalent. Replacing "of" with "a part of" brings some clarity.

"What race are you?" vs "What race are you a part of?"

and

"I wouldn't hate someone because they are a particular race" vs "I wouldn't hate someone because they are a part of a particular race"

So it's the difference between being and belonging. When talking about ethnicity/nationality/race you can both be and belong to an ethnicity/nationality/race, which is why the sentences are equivalent. But if you were to reword it to use a social club or an innate feature like age, you will see that in a different context where being and belonging are not equivalent, the sentences are not equivalent and some of them don't make sense.

"What club are you?" (being - doesn't make sense) vs "What club are you a part of?" (belonging)

and

"I wouldn't hate someone because they are a particular age" (being) vs "I wouldn't hate someone because they are a part of a particular age" (belonging - doesn't make sense)

So it doesn't matter whether it's a statement or a question, just what the context is. I hope that clarifies.

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  • Thanks. So you say the sentences I gave are interchangeable. Do you think “What ethnicity/nationality/race are you of” is correct too? Might it be kind of stilted? Commented Jun 17, 2021 at 10:09

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