A bell ring / the ring of a bell

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Senior Member
a ​They were awakened by a bell ring / They were awakened by the ring of a bell
b She is reading a grammar book / She is reading a book of grammar

Is there any difference, and if so, does it consist in anything but a matter of stylistic preference?
  • velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    Some nouns can qualify other nouns.
    See this recent thread:
    using the preposition "of" vs. reversed word order

    You will see "grammar book" more often than "book of grammar".

    In your first sentence "the ringing of a bell" is natural, as is "a bell ringing". I've never seen the combination "bell ring", with the two nouns. This example is more complicated than the "grammar book" one, because "ring" is either verb or noun, depending how it is used.

    I heard the ring of a bell is fine, but I heard a bell ring has a different meaning: "ring" there is a verb.
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