What is the longest river (in or of) the world?

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Yuuichi Tam

Senior Member
Japanese
What is the longest river ( ) the world.

I came across this quiz. I think the answer is "in" or "of", but I can see the both. Which is correct?
 
  • lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Strangely, although it's perfectly idiomatic to say instead "What is the world's longest river?" (which is equivalent to "the longest river of the world"!), when turning it around you would naturally – as Andygc has said – say the longest river in the world.

    This has nothing to do with rivers, it's simply that when referring to the biggest/smallest/longest/tallest/most expensive, or whatever, anything worldwide, the convention is that we say "in the world" rather than "of the world".
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    You say "of" is not ungrammatical, that is to say, "of" isn't unnatural?
    You cannot assume that grammatical=idiomatic (which I assume you mean by 'natural'). There are many grammatical sentences that are unlikely to pass the lips of native English speakers. This thread provides some examples from lingobingo.
     
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