be (of) color

Ivan_I

Senior Member
Russian
1) Cars can be different colors.
2) Cars can have different colors.
3) Cars can be different in color.
4) Cars can be of different colors.

Is there a wrong sentence among the 4? I think 3 might be wrong. What do you think?
 
  • Dryan

    Senior Member
    English - Northeastern U.S.
    1 and 2 sound normal.
    3 sounds OK but stilted. I would definitely prefer the first two.
    4 sounds strange. I don't like it but I think it's grammatical.
     

    Ivan_I

    Senior Member
    Russian
    So, there is a problem with "of +color". What about this sentence? It seems to me that we can't omit THE here? Or can we?


    I though I would see that red car but when I came to the parking lot I saw/there was a car of a different color.
     

    Dryan

    Senior Member
    English - Northeastern U.S.
    So, there is a problem with "of +color". What about this sentence? It seems to me that we can't omit THE here? Or can we?


    I though I would see that red car but when I came to the parking lot I saw/there was a car of a different color.
    Again this is grammatical but it definitely sounds like someone who's abusing a foreign language's usage of the genitive case. I avoid that, generally. It makes sentences longer and more confusing for no good reason.

    "I thought I would see that red car in the parking lot but when I came out there was a different-colored one."


    Another cultural note in the US is that of color is generally reserved to describe people's skin. It's awkward for me to apply that to inanimate objects.
     
    Last edited:

    ain'ttranslationfun?

    Senior Member
    US English
    So, there is a problem with "of +color". What about this sentence? It seems to me that we can't omit THE here? Or can we?


    I though I would see that red car but when I came to the parking lot I saw/there was a car of a different color.
    This immediately made me think of the idiomatic expression "a horse of a different color".
     

    Ivan_I

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Would this one work?

    I thought I would see that red car in the parking lot but when I came out there was a car different in colour.
     

    Roxxxannne

    Senior Member
    English (northeastern US)
    'Cars can be of different colors' sounds fine to me, although I would use #2 in the OP myself to state a fact. I'd use #4 to emphasize the variety of automotive colors.
     

    Ivan_I

    Senior Member
    Russian
    And how about this fancy modification?

    I thought I would see that red car in the parking lot but when I came out there was a car different in colour.
     

    ain'ttranslationfun?

    Senior Member
    US English
    For the (general) sentences in the OP, I'd also say "Cars come in different colors." An American car salesperson/auto dealer might say "This model is available in different colors."
     
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