talk within/in the topic

Curiosity777

Senior Member
Korean
What is the difference in meaning between 1 and 2 if "in/within the topic" is modifying "talk"?

1. Let's talk within the topic.
2. Let's talk in the topic.

I think both sentences are correct and can convey the same meaning that "Let's talk in the domain of the topic"
 
  • Curiosity777

    Senior Member
    Korean
    I honestly don't get why they don't sound idiomatic and are incorrect.
    Could you tell me the literal meaning of them so that I can feel why they're wrong?
     

    S1m0n

    Senior Member
    English
    You might say 'within the general subject (or topic) of english grammar'. But when it comes to instructing someone to stay within the subject, the phrase 'on topic' or 'off topic' is idiomatic, not 'in'
     

    Curiosity777

    Senior Member
    Korean
    So to sum up, although they do make sense, they are just not idiomatic?
    But I guess they don't quite make sense either, which would be the reason why they're not idiomatic.
     

    Barque

    Senior Member
    Tamil
    But I guess they don't quite make sense either,
    They do make sense, in the sense that I understood what you meant immediately, as I'm sure did the others who've replied. Not making sense isn't necessarily the reason something is unidiomatic. Things are unidiomatic because they don't sound natural, or don't follow usual practice.
     

    S1m0n

    Senior Member
    English
    It's not wrong, but there are more right answers.
    I was thinking of my example as introducing a subordinate clause: "Within the general topic of english grammar, there are many fascinating questions."
    As a part of the main clause, and in the imperative, I would always use 'on topic'. "Please stay on topic' conveys what you want to say much more succinctly and idiomatically.
     
    Last edited:

    Curiosity777

    Senior Member
    Korean
    It's not wrong, but there are more right answers.
    I was thinking of my example as introducing a subordinate clause: "Within the general topic of english grammar, there are many fascinating questions."
    As a part of the main clause, and in the imperative, I would always use 'on topic'. "Please stay on topic' conveys what youn want to say much more succinctly and idiomatically.
    What about the second sentence?
    Is the second sentence definitely wrong, unlike the first sentence?
     

    S1m0n

    Senior Member
    English
    A native speaker would understand 'on' much quicker than 'in'. 'In' isn't wrong, grammatically, but it would require a moment of confusion to figure out what you're saying, because the preposition is unusual in that context.
     

    elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    For me, “talk within the topic” is borderline/marginal — unidiomatic but not obscenely jarring —whereas “talk in the topic” is totally, utterly wrong. :eek:
     
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