When should I use “a discussion of” vs. “a discussion on” vs. “a discussion about”?

“A discussion of”, “a discussion on”, and “a discussion about”: When is each phrase used in preference to the other?
If context is important, I want to use it as a subheading on a piece of non-fiction.


Oh lordy, another “there’s a difference, but I can’t quite put my finger on it” question. But I’m gonna try anyway. 🙂

  • A discussion about a topic — this implies that the discussion was just a conversation, really, and it might not have stayed strictly on-topic.

  • A discussion of a topic — this brings to mind a true discussion, going into all sorts of details of the topic (and only the topic).

  • A discussion on a topic — here I picture the discussion to be somewhat one-sided, almost a lecture.

Note that all of these connotations are vague and amorphous, and can be overridden by customary usages, or by what “sounds best” in a given context. If you pressed me to suggest a single best choice, today I’d go with “of”. No guarantees about tomorrow.

Source : Link , Question Author : Simon , Answer Author : Marthaª

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