Senior Member
Although lots of Chinese youth have got 3G phones, they are not using the 3G wireless function, which is the essence/axis of the technology, because China has no 3G networks at all.


The above is what I heard from a news report. I did not quite catch whether it was 'essence' or 'axis'. Can you help to identify which noun is workable there, or can both work well there? Thank you.
  • Fabulist

    American English
    "Essence" and "axis" are quite different things. An "axis" is a line through the center of a sphere or spheroid, around which it can revolve; the earth's runs from the north pole to the south pole. Figuratively, an "axis" is the center of some farflung enterprise. When President George W. Bush called Iran and North Korea an "axis of evil," he meant that they were the opposite ends of a network of terroristic operations.

    An "essence" is the most important element or component of something. Of the two words you thought you might have heard, only "essence" would make sense, although the writer or speaker might have been confused and used "axis" instead.