100% GOOD (1 votes)AnsweredLanguage Question
Hello,please help me . ”He might be an acrobat with the circus.”what does ”with” mean here ? And why ”with” is used here? Is this sentanse correct? ”He might be an acrobat of the circus.”
  • 5 answers
AussieInBg profile picture AussieInBg2 weeks ago
”with” is used commonly in American English for a performer + the group he/she is a member of.

In British English, ”in” is used far more frequently, e.g. ”He might be an acrobat in the circus.”

”of” used to be used more commonly in both British and American English. However, it is becoming archaic now to use ”of”... or ”of” might be used in very formal contexts. Don’t use ”of” unless you really know what you are doing
exRanger profile picture exRanger2 weeks ago
American English is quite flexible and this statement could be rendered in any/all of the following ways:

1. He might be an acrobat with the circus.
- ”with” implies that X is employed by, and is thus ”with”, the circus.

2. He might be an acrobat in the circus.

3. He might be an acrobat for the circus.

4. He might be an acrobat at the circus.

NOTE: What we WILL NOT say/write is ”He might be an acrobat OF the circus.” This is a genitive construction implying ”possession” or ”ownership”, which is not the case re: the relationship between the acrobat and the circus.

  • AussieInBg profile picture AussieInBg2 weeks ago
    I guess that modern American English has been dumbed down to the point where any prepositional usage is all fine so long as a rough gist of the meaning is apparent. Is that what is being taught in US universities and high school classrooms nowadays and you’re just following the trend?

    Given that the question was about ”with” and ”of”, then it is highly clear that the context emphasises specifically the employment relationship: employee=acrobat, employer=circus.

    ”with” here puts the emphasis on employment and ”for” could also be a substitute in this sense but with a different stress (Homework exercise: what different aspects do ”with” and ”for” stress regarding the employment relationship?).

    ”in” and ”at” stress different elements of the employee-employer engagement in American English (Another homework exercise: how do these differ from ”with”?)

    It makes total logical sense that it was common not too far into the past to use ”of” for an employee-employer relationship. After all, what self-respecting robber-baron or company owner would regard an employee as nothing more than a company possession?

    ”of” had been very commonly used for many expressions well into the last century. In general, in English - both British and American - there is a significant shift from the genitive ”of” to locative prepositions such as ”with” or ”in” over the last few decades. The genitive ”of” is still very much retained in technical and other formal writing.

    The question form implies that the writer has most likely seen ”of” - which does exist and still exists - and therefore deserves an explanation about it.

    Perhaps you haven’t read or written any significant amount of formal or older literature and have therefore not been exposed to genitive forms such ”acrobat of the circus”..

    Maybe it is the case of ”ruining English” by getting rid of the genitive ”of” in favour of other locative prepositions..