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Hello. I've been thinking about the following sentence:

In this regard the previous assumption on the developing of sympathy lacks universality.

Here by "developing", the context means that the students begin to have sympathy. And by "universality", it means that it may not apply in all cases.
I wonder if the two expressions are used properly here. And is there any way to rephrase them?
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whisperingIn this regard the previous assumption on the developing of sympathy lacks universality.
Lacks universality sounds great.

But assumption on the developing of is awkward.

Consider these options:


assumption about the development of sympathy ... (assumptions are about situations/things, which are nouns)

assumption about sympathy development ... (gets rid of extra prepositional phrase)

assumption regarding sympathy development ... (alternative to about), but you said regard at the beginning so ...)

In this way, the previous assumption regarding sympathy development lacks universality. (changes regard at the beginning)
SoSaysSunnyIn this way, the previous assumption regarding sympathy development lacks universality.
After seeing this I immediately realise how cumbersome I was. Thanks!
By the way, can you think of any word to replace 'development'? It was actually overused in my essay.Emotion: embarrassed
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whisperingAfter seeing this I immediately realise how cumbersome I was. Thanks!

You've probably heard the term Grammar Nazi (a person who attacks others for any grammar mistakes) ...


Well, I'm a Serial Word-Killer: Every word must justify its existence or it will be slaughtered without mercy!


(Sometimes my writing is left a hacked-up corpse.)


My hero in this regard is Mark Twain (American author, 1835-1910), who famously said:

Eschew Surplusage. (remove the unnecessary)

If you'd like to read a humorous essay about the qualities of good (and bad) writing, read Fennimore Cooper's Literary Offenses (1895). Or just the rules, themselves.


whisperingBy the way, can you think of any word to replace 'development'?

Hmmm ... Depending on the context:

develop (v.) / development (n.)

acquire / acquisition

attain / attainment

... / facility (ability), faculties (skills)

learn / knowledge

grow / growth

mature / maturity

whispering: By the way, can you think of any word to replace 'development'?
whispering: In this regard the previous assumption on the developing of sympathy lacks universality.
SoSaysSunny: In this way, the previous assumption regarding sympathy development lacks universality.
Today the word "form" came to my attention, and I've seen it used in "form personality". So I wonder if it is okay to say "forming of sympathy", or "sympathy formation"? The latter seems really strange for me, though.
whisperingToday the word "form" came to my attention, and I've seen it used in "form personality". So I wonder if it is okay to say "forming of sympathy", or "sympathy formation"? The latter seems really strange for me, though.
Empathy is different from sympathy but a Google search of empathy and sympathy gave these results:

A bivariate model analysis clarified that shared family environmental factors did not contribute to the formation of empathy.

Factors affecting the formation of empathy:

Formation of empathy and sympathy.

Attachment is key in the formation of empathy.

The emphasis placed on the visual in the formation of sympathy in Smith
Also consider: a growing capacity for sympathy

I also ran across an excellent Psychology Today article distinguishing pity, sympathy, empathy, and compassion.
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Thanks very much for your kind reply. Emotion: smile
SoSaysSunnybut a Google searchEmotion: yes
I've never thought to use Google in that way, though I did try COCA. Now via Google I find that both "sympathy formation" and "empathy formation" are acceptable. Also, I really envy your "a growing capacity for sympathy". It's marvellous!
SoSaysSunnyI also ran across an excellent Psychology Today article distinguishing pity, sympathy, empathy, and compassion.
I cannot appreciate your recommendation more. This elaboration is really crystal. However, I do wonder if that quote from John Steinbeck, which concludes the second paragraph, makes much sense.
John Steinbeck: It means very little to know that a million Chinese are starving unless you know one Chinese who is starving.
Indeed, I think the question is that the Chinese you know may starve for a different reason from that million. And therefore, in this context, a starving person from China may counts no more than one from, say, America. I personally would instead say:

It means very little to know that a million Chinese are starving unless you know one of them.

What do you think about it?Emotion: thinking
I agree with your reading. Personally, I think the quote boils down to: Facts are nice but people are compelling. Sometimes the quantity of suffering is so overwhelming but, if we knew even a single individual, we would passionately take up the cause.