2

Which one is correct? Which one is more preferable in an academic context?

  1. properties of something and its something

  2. properties of something and of its something

The properties studied are properties of both of those things, ie. properties of something and also properties of its something. The "of" seems to be semantically fitting, but it seemed a little redundant.

  • 1
    In the abstract like this, they seem entirely interchangeable, but we could probably help you better if you actually fill in the "something" you are talking about. – Sarah Mar 7 '16 at 19:36
  • It really depends on context. "properties of iron and its alloys" and "properties of the sulfate anion and of its salts." – MaxW Mar 7 '16 at 19:55
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    @MaxW: I can't really see any reason why either of your examples would be any more or less likely to include of. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Mar 7 '16 at 20:57
  • Thanks for adding some clarification - I've voted to re-open. If I understand correctly you're asking about whether omitting the second 'of' is OK for formal writing and carries the same meaning? – ColleenV parted ways Mar 8 '16 at 19:17
  • @FumbleFingers: I think that MaxW is drawing a distinction between cases where both coordinands share the properties of interest, and cases where they do not. (Iron alloys are similar to iron in many ways, whereas sulfate salts are completely different from sulfate ions.) He'd probably also suggest "the children of Adam and Eve" (shared children) vs. "the children of Jacob and of Esau" (unshared children). But I agree with you: I don't think I could maintain that distinction without really thinking about it. – ruakh Mar 10 '16 at 0:12
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The second of is entirely optional and usually omitted colloquially. The same goes with most other prepositions. However, in cases where there is potential ambiguity, it's advisable.

For instance:

I enjoy the friendly atmosphere of StackExchange and my local Starbucks down the street.

Here one could interpret it as my enjoying the Starbucks itself, rather than its atmosphere. It would be more precise to write:

I enjoy the friendly atmosphere of StackExchange and of my local Starbucks down the street.

Or to adapt @ruakh's nice example, children of Adam and Eve might be construed as "Adam's children and Eve".

Depending on your audience, it may not matter as common sense will guide their interpretation. For more complex thoughts, the choice may be important.

I called up an old friend, with whom I grew up in the great state of Arizona, and [with whom I] went fishing after lunch.

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