BE + of NOUN PHRASE

Why say “is of interest” instead of “is interesting“?

is of + noun‘ is more formal and in academic writing, we use the noun form of a word more often.  More importantly, ‘of+noun’ functions as a noun in this position.  Therefore, it can often collocate correctly with modifiers.  For example:  “greatest interest” is much more common than “greatly interesting”.  And the meaning of the superlative is different anyway.

A search in NOW corpus for the frequency:

great interest = 14215 examples

greatest interest = 801 examples

greatly interesting = 4 examples

There are clearly more common adverbs found before “interesting”:

1 REALLY INTERESTING 35466
2 PARTICULARLY INTERESTING 7837
3 GENUINELY INTERESTING 3155
4  ESPECIALLY INTERESTING 2332
5  EXTREMELY INTERESTING 2103

Similarly, ‘greatly’ is relatively common before ‘interested’ and many other -ed adjectives.  However, none of the following -ed adjectives fit after the dummy subject ‘it’.

1 GREATLY CONCERNED 1269
2  GREATLY INCREASED 1071
3  GREATLY IMPROVED 1051
4 GREATLY DISAPPOINTED 589
5  GREATLY EXPANDED 555
6  GREATLY ENHANCED 497
7  GREATLY BENEFICIAL 399
8  GREATLY APPRECIATIVE 284
9 GREATLY IMPROVING 267
10 GREATLY SURPRISED 267
11 GREATLY INCREASING 238
12 GREATLY INTERESTED 224

If we search for a common structure where ‘it’ might be referring back or a dummy:

1 IT IS OF CONCERN 434
2  IT IS OF INTEREST 352
3 IT IS OF NOTE 186
4  IT IS OF IMPORTANCE 70
5  IT IS OF BENEFIT 60

A search for:

it is of * interest

the total variations are 420.

We won’t include all of them below.  The point is that more than 50% of the time ‘interest’ is premodified in this structure.

1 IT IS OF GREAT INTEREST 85
2  IT IS OF PARTICULAR INTEREST 63
3  IT IS OF PUBLIC INTEREST 41
4  IT IS OF NO INTEREST 40
5  IT IS OF NATIONAL INTEREST 31
6  IT IS OF SPECIAL INTEREST 11
7  IT IS OF SOME INTEREST 11
8  IT IS OF VITAL INTEREST 9
9  IT IS OF CONSIDERABLE INTEREST 7
10 IT IS OF GENERAL INTEREST 7


A search for:

_VB of _NN

1 BE OF INTEREST 13762

Not a very subtle toolbut the results will be of interest to the board.

listen

2 BE OF BENEFIT 3394
3 IS OF CONCERN 3136
4 BE OF CONCERN 3110
5 BE OF SERVICE 2957
6 BE OF HELP 2893
7 IS OF INTEREST 2833
8 BE OF USE 2785
9  ARE OF INTEREST 2766
10 BE OF VALUE 1840