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I wrote the following sentence:

On the other hand, there would be many downsides of communicating in just one language globally.

Grammarly premium in academic mod suggested re-writing it as:

On the other hand, there would be many downsides to communicating in just one language globally.

Then I checked dictionaries and found these sentences:

The downside of living here, of course, is that it is expensive. (https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/downside)

The downside of all this success is that I don't get to spend much time with my family.(https://www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/definition/english/downside?q=downside)

After looking the dictionaries up I thought that what Grammarly suggest is wrong.

Is it 'downside of something' or 'downside to something'?

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    Either is fine.
    – Astralbee
    Jan 17, 2023 at 18:31
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    Both prepositions are fine, and the mean exactly the same. Americans use both about equally often, but Brits have a significant preference for "the downside to..." But we're not here to "debug" Grammarly. Jan 17, 2023 at 18:32
  • Either is fine. But I don't like downsideS. I would write it so there is only one downside, and make it emphatic somehow. Maybe multi-faceted, or large, or intense in some way.
    – Boba Fit
    Jan 17, 2023 at 19:58
  • I think 'downside' is still a little informal, at least in British English. Jan 17, 2023 at 23:01

2 Answers 2

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I think it's a matter of stylistic choice. Some speakers might even argue that "downside in" is also fine.

For what it's worth, "downside to" sounds best to me in your example but I don't know why.

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Prepositions are often interchangeable in English.

It is common to say there is a downside "to" doing something. However, it is not incorrect to say there is a downside "with" something, or a downside "of" a thing.

When we refer to "sides" of something, we often use "of" (the outside of a thing, the right side of a thing, etc.). So it is that in some phrases, "downside" goes with "of". For example, "The downside of working from home is the lack of face-to-face contact with colleagues."

As to the original question, I do think "...downside to communicating..." sounds better than "...downside of communicating..." But it is a subtle difference and "of" is understandable.

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