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To consist in or consist of...

Discussion in 'English Only' started by maraba, Mar 3, 2007.

  1. maraba

    maraba Senior Member

    Spain
    Hi again everybody.:)
    Actually, those two concepts are ones that still I can't quite understand.

    "Definition of intensive listening: consists of/in the total comprehension of the text (...)."

    Would you please explain to me briefly when to use one and another?
    Thanks.
     
  2. consist of - to be composed or made up of
    consist in - how something works
     
  3. jess oh seven

    jess oh seven Senior Member

    Scotland
    UK/US, English
  4. marcolo

    marcolo Senior Member

    Bordeaux, France
    France, french
    Hello everyone :)
    I am a bit confused by "consist in"/ "consist of". On the French-English forum, there are some threads where english-speaking seem to not like "consist in" and systematically prefer "consist of", but sometimes they admit that "consist in" could be right. In dictionary.com, the two constructions are allowed depending on the use.

    To give you some matter of reflection (if I can say that), I give you the sentence I want to be correct

    The mass lumping technique consists in replacing the exact non diagonal mass matrix by an approximate diagonal one.

    So it is a kind of definition, and "consist in" should be the correct use, right ?
    Thank you for your help.
     
  5. nzfauna

    nzfauna Senior Member

    Wellington, New Zealand
    New Zealand, English
    Consists of.
     
  6. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod

    Here's an excellent citation I found on another website:

    Consist in means “is inherent in or lies within”: His social success consists in being able to persuade everyone of his amiability. It usually occurs in sentences with singular subjects that consist in either singular or plural nominals.

    Consist of means “is composed or made up of”: His fleet consists of a day sailer, a canoe, and a small skiff. It usually appears in a sentence with a singular subject that consists of a plural group of nominals.

    The Columbia Guide to Standard American English.

    Here's a great quote from Mark Twain using "consists in":

    Good breeding consists in concealing how much we think of ourselves and how little we think of the other person.


    I would say that your sentence makes sense with "consists in".
     
  7. la grive solitaire

    la grive solitaire Senior Member

    United States, English
  8. Joelline

    Joelline Senior Member

    USA (W. Pennsylvania)
    American English
    I would agree with La Grive: you need consists of here.

    At this site, the explanation is simple, but clear:
    Consist of: To be made up or composed: New York City consists of five boroughs.
    Consist in: To have a basis; reside or lie: The beauty of the artist's style consists in its simplicity.

    << -- not English -- >>
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2010
  9. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod

    You found the same web page I did, LGS. :)

    I still think it's "consists in". In the second section regarding the differences between the two, it says consists in means "'to be comprised or contained in (actions, conditions, qualities', or other things non-material)"

    The act of replacing is a non-material thing, an action. The technique is not made up of either a non-diagonal mass matrix nor an approximate diagonal mass matrix. The technique lies in replacing one with the other.
     
  10. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
    EEUU-inglés
  11. gringa303 New Member

    USA English
    I believe it is consists of
     
  12. marcolo

    marcolo Senior Member

    Bordeaux, France
    France, french
    Thank you all, I didn't think about looking for "consisting"...
    Very helpful those comments :)
     
  13. Forero Senior Member

    Houston, Texas, USA
    USA English
    I vote for "consists in" in this sentence because the technique is the replacing. With "consists of", I would expect steps in the process to be enumerated.
     
  14. nzfauna

    nzfauna Senior Member

    Wellington, New Zealand
    New Zealand, English
    Frankly, I have never heard "consist in", and I would never use it.
     
  15. Ms Missy Senior Member

    U.S. Virgin Islands
    USA English
    I had never heard of it either, but now that it's been brought to my attention as an expression that actually exists, I won't say that I would never use it ... especially in a context where the distinction was important.
     
  16. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod

    Yes, I was thinking about this on the way home last night and thought that I would use "consists of" if it were a process that had steps. Each step is an action but somehow a series of actions makes more sense to me with "consists of."
     
  17. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
    EEUU-inglés
    I agree with both the choice and the underlying logic. That said, non-native learners should be aware that "consists/consisting in" is used in English with far less frequency than the of version, is fairly formal, and will sound odd to many native speakers. It should be used, therefore, with caution. It's a perfectly good term in the right place, but that is not apt to be colloquial discourse.
     
  18. cheerssss Junior Member

    French
    Hi everybody,

    I'm a bit confused as well...
    Do you think we could have examples to illustrate the difference??
    In advance thank u!!!

    cheerssss
     
  19. Cagey non modo mod

    California
    English - US
    << Moderator's note: This recent question has been added to an earlier thread on the same subject. >>

    We do not provide examples. Rather we discuss examples you provide.

    However, I have merged this thread with an earlier one. If you read from the beginning of the thread, you will see examples that have been provided by previous posters. :)
     
  20. moonlight7 Senior Member

    What would be an alternative to "consists in" in this case? Implies?
    The mass lumping technique implies replacing the exact non diagonal mass matrix by an approximate diagonal one
     
  21. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod

    I don't think "implies" would be a good alternative. "...is applied by..." would work, in my opinion.
     
  22. moonlight7 Senior Member

    Thanks, JamesM!
     
  23. Harry-Potter

    Harry-Potter Senior Member

    Polish
    Would the following question 'What does your work chiefly consist in?' trip off a native speaker's tongue? What I mean by this question is what do you do at work, what are your duties etc.? If not, what would be a better wording in this context? 'What does your work involve'? possibly?
     
  24. elena.schnabl New Member

    italiano
    Very clear, thank you!
     

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