Learn English – Changing Noun to Adjective using “of”


Is it possible to change Nouns to Adjective by adding "of" before the noun? Like:

of help = helpful => not of any help = not helpful
of interest = interesting => of a lot of interest = very interesting
of problem = problematic => of a lot of problem = very problematic
of no use = not useful => it's of no use = it's not useful
of no importance = not important => It's of no importance to me = it's not important to me

I am wondering if there is any case where this method doesn't work.

Update: Let me rephrase my question this way: Can this rule be applied to those nouns that already have a meaningful adjective? I mean, the noun book does not have any adjective, so I don't expect of book to be a meaningful adjective! My question targets only those nouns that have a known adjective.

Update 2: Some Ngram diagrams:

"not important to" vs "of no importance to"
"not useful to" vs "of no use to"
"not helpful to" vs "of no help to"
"not valuable to" vs "of no value to"
"not interesting to" vs "of no interest to"

Update 3: I just came across the following sentence in wikibooks:

Of special mention are the shift operators

I think "of special mention" here means "specially mentionable". Doesn't it?

Update 4: Yet another example I found in here:

Please post any question that you feel is of worth and the reason why.

I think "of worth" here means "worthwhile" or "worthy".

Update 5: A comment posted here:

Then two-step is not of any use to you. Two-step is for personal computers and apps that only you would use.

Update 6: Another example from here:

Assuming all the devices in your signal path are of more or less comparable quality

Update 7: Another example from a book I recently read:

Of what use is talking about interests, options, and standards if the other side has a stronger
bargaining position?

Best Answer

I believe the answer to your question hinges on whether it's a mass noun or a count noun. You generally can't use "of" to turn a count noun into an adjective phrase.

  • "of book" doesn't work because "book" is a count noun.
  • "of assistance" works because "assistance" is a mass noun.

There may be exceptions to this, but I'm sure this rule will stand you in good stead, in the vast majority of cases.

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