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Are both correct?

The book is worthwhile reading.

It is worthwhile reading the book.

I have a suspicion that 1 is not correct.

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  • "to read the book" would be better if you intend people to read the whole book, "reading the book" could mean looking at a few pages or a significant chapter.
    – Stuart F
    Commented Apr 5, 2023 at 13:54

2 Answers 2

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I would suggest the latter. It is worthwhile reading the book. Though both make sense and will be understood, the second option sounds more correct to my ear.

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I disagree with JamesW to a quite limited disagree.

First, both sentences are grammatical. I suspect James and I agree.

Second, which sentence is preferable may be a mere matter of personal taste. Again, I suspect we agree.

Third, my personal feeling is that the first sentence seems odd because its tighter structure makes the ambiguity of the thought expressed more obvious. The thought is redundant, at least superficially: of what use is a book except for reading.

The book is worthwhile reading [because it teaches brilliantly how to make the erroneous plausible].

The book is worthwhile reading [because no other presents the correct argument so precisely and with so much supporting evidence].

The preceding examples make clear that a distinction is possible between the value of reading a possibly bad book and the value of a good book. Neither of your sentences makes that possible distinction, but breaking “book” and “reading” into two distinct grammatical entities makes the possible ambiguity more obvious.

In short, if what is intended is to commend the book, then a sentence better than either given in the original question is

The book is worthwhile

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  • It possibly depends as well on what kind of English one speaks. Southeast England for me. Like I say, both are grammatically correct, but my region of English would likely prefer the latter, at least in my experience. There is probably a lot of personal preference as well.
    – JamesW
    Commented Apr 6, 2023 at 9:26
  • @JamesW As I indicated, the extent to which you and I disagree is very limited. I agree that the second option mentioned by the OP is the one more likely to be encountered. I just think that both options are verbose and vague. Commented Apr 6, 2023 at 18:23

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