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Question The solar panels concentrate sunlight (  ) a small area.

hirashin

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Dear native English speakers,

which preposition can be used in the parenthesis?

The solar panels concentrate sunlight ( to / in / on / into / onto ) a small area.

Hirashin
 

mdchachi

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Of course the meaning differs slightly depending the preposition you use.
 

Michael2

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The subtle difference in meaning though is that I think you concentrate ON an object but IN a place, although even then I think it would be quite odd to talk about the place where you were concentrating, ("I was concentrating in the library") but I think that is why your second example sounds a bit better, but is a bit different. The "small area" is not only the target of the bombing but also the place the bombing is happening, whereas in the first example I imagine a concentration, almost like a laser beam, of sunlight.


Perhaps it's another AE/BE thing:)
 

mdchachi

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The "small area" is not only the target of the bombing but also the place the bombing is happening, whereas in the first example I imagine a concentration, almost like a laser beam, of sunlight.
I agree with you. I just felt I couldn't make the same assumption and give a blanket statement that they are all wrong. So even though it's odd, I assumed the sunlight concentration could also be in a place, not only on an object. At least for the purposes of this discussion.
 

Michael2

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Possibly so, but the "correct" proposition to use with "concentrate" is "concentrate on" going on what I have always said, the dictionary and what I think you would agree with if you think about what you say. You'd never say "we need to concentrate to/in this project at the moment". A lot of language would "get the point across" but would be wrong, and not get any marks in an exam.
A bit like my Japanese:p
 

johnnyG

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I'll veer off on a different path: solar panels generally don't "concentrate" sunlight at all. They convert sunlight to energy/electricity. Maybe you could say they capture (the power of) sunlight.

Yes, there are some solar installations that use mirrors and reflectors to concentrate the light--to focus/direct it onto a certain part of the system. But those designs are not used for 'solar panels'--for the PV systems you see on roofs or even most solar farms. (PV = photovoltaic) Systems designed to concentrate/intensify the sunlight are used to produce heat (eg. for hot water), and whatever is heated is used directly (water) or used for energy (could be that water heats a building, runs a turbine, etc).
 

hirashin

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johnnyG, here's from the textbook. Is this incorrect or inaccurate?

Part 1
“Dinner’s ready!” Your host comes into the house carrying a cake. A meal of soup, curry, and rice is already on the table. You are told that everything was cooked outside without using gas, electricity, or fire. Is this magic? No, it is solar cooking!
How does it work? First of all, you need a solar cooker. There are many designs, but they all work in a similar way. A mirror or reflective panel concentrates sunlight into a small area. Then, a black pot absorbs the sunlight and turns it into heat energy.
The highest temperature of a solar cooker is often much lower than a regular oven’s. Still, food can be cooked at 82°C, so most dishes can be made in solar cookers. While they work best in direct sunlight, some also work well on cloudy days.

Part 2
The three most common types of solar cookers are box cookers, parabolic cookers, and panel cookers. Box cookers are the oldest and most popular. The Indian government started promoting them in 1982. Parabolic cookers cook food quickly at high temperatures, so they must be used carefully. Some villages in India and Vietnam rely on them. Panel cookers are the cheapest and easiest to use. They are popular in Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, and many other developing countries.
In Japan, Dr. Nakajo Yuichi researches solar cookers. He works with young people and hopes they can learn about physics and renewable energy from solar cookers. He has watched groups of high school students making solar cookers as part of the Science Camp program. “Some of their designs are so unique and effective,” he says.

Part 3
Solar cookers have many advantages for people’s health and the environment. In developing countries, almost two million children die every year from drinking unclean water. However, heating water to 65°C in a solar cooker kills harmful bacteria. Also, using one box-type solar cooker can save more than 500 kilograms of firewood per year. That helps stop deforestation, which is a serious problem in many countries.
There are other merits. Solar cooking is safer than cooking with fire because there is no danger of injury from fire or illness from smoke. Also, women and children do not need to gather firewood, so they have more time to grow vegetables, make handicrafts, or go to school. In the future, more people will be able to live safer and more productive lives thanks to solar cookers!
 

mdchachi

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Possibly so, but the "correct" proposition to use with "concentrate" is "concentrate on" going on what I have always said, the dictionary and what I think you would agree with if you think about what you say. You'd never say "we need to concentrate to/in this project at the moment". A lot of language would "get the point across" but would be wrong, and not get any marks in an exam.
I agree with you that "to" is the least correct and may even be incorrect. Regardless this is not a good exam question because multiple answers are grammatically correct and possible. And your blanket statement is not correct and not a good rule. For example a laser concentrates light in a beam, not on a beam. And even "to" doesn't sound wrong sometimes. Here's a Google'd example:
This allowed me to concentrate the light to the part of the image I wanted lit.

johnnyG, here's from the textbook. Is this incorrect or inaccurate?
The text is correct and so is JohnnyG. Solar cookers don't use solar panels, they use mirrors to focus/concentrate the light.
 

Michael2

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But again, that's not the object of the beam/, which is when "on" is the only option. And I would say wherever that googled example is from was written by someone who didn't speak English correctly 😁 Just like Hirashin's text which seems to be taken from Wikipedia, whereas all other professionally written articles only use concentrate with "on"
 

mdchachi

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But again, that's not the object of the beam/, which is when "on" is the only option. And I would say wherever that googled example is from was written by someone who didn't speak English correctly 😁 Just like Hirashin's text which seems to be taken from Wikipedia, whereas all other professionally written articles only use concentrate with "on"
What's wrong with the text? The "concentrate into" part? As you said earlier, you could concentrate into an area.
And I would add, it also makes sense if it is something that has depth.
- These satellites then use a laser beam to concentrate light into a photovoltaic cell receiver.
- the lenses concentrate light into the microcells
- 'power tower' technology that would see a field of mirrors concentrate light into a central receiver at the top of a tower.
 

Michael2

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Well for the earlier example I said "in", not "into", which is actually a fundamental difference. You would never say "I live into Tokyo"
I agree the examples you give sound fine, but I would say that was because the use of concentrate is different. It is where it doesn't need an object. "into" is connected to the noun following it, not to the word "concentrate", so you could say "the solar panels concentrate the sunlight" meaning centering it, and leave it at that, with "into something" as a separate thought, whereas as a verb +proposition collocation I would say as I've said.
Anyway, time for bed. And a beer!!
 

Lothor

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Having seen the context, I'm still perfectly happy with the preposition into, and I have to make judgements on such things every day as a proofreader of science and engineering papers. Also, you can be confident that such text will have been copy-edited and proofread at least once each, which means that three native English speakers are satisfied with it if you include the author.

I agree that taking out the preposition and asking students to complete the sentence is not a good question - if we can't agree and there are multiple possibilities, then it's unreasonable to ask students for the right answer!
 
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