Tonight we came across a structure/expression in an FCE test that I can’t ever remember having seen in a course book.
To familiarise you more with the structure, here are some examples from the web…
1) “When it comes to choosing the ideal holiday destination, Spain has cemented itself as one of the top locations.”
2) “However, when it comes to choosing an appropriate family holiday, many of us can become unsure as to where the best holiday destinations are.”
3) “When it comes to Spain, many of us will automatically think of its beautiful weather and sandy beaches. However, those of us…”
4) “When it comes to Spain however, there is plenty to satisfy all families, no matter what kind of holidays you may be used to.”
5) “When it comes to living in Spain, the country is a great place and has many things to offer. Here you will find a range of beautiful range of luxury villas…”
6) “I’ve never been to Spain before, but I’ve heard a lot about the Spanish holiday reports. I know they are really popular for British tourists, as well as German and Scandanavians. I’m considering a trip to Spain, and I’ll be visiting some of the bigger cities and other places of interest in Spain, but I don’t know where to start when it comes to choosing which resort(s) to go to. Can anyone give me advice about Spanish holiday resorts.”
7) “When it comes to shopping, Madrid is at the top of the list of unmissable destinations. Home to the most exclusive brands, the city offers visitors Luxury with a capital L.”
8) “There really is a wide variety to choose from when it comes to eating out in Madrid. From grabbing a quick bite when you’re visiting the fantastic landmarks of the city to some fine dining by top Michelin-starred chefs, Madrid has something for everyone.”
9) “Our Local Expert picks the best Things to Do in Madrid: “Madrid isn’t a major trendsetter like New York or London, but the city is rightly famous for its social atmosphere and simply knowing how to have a good time. So when it comes to the coolest things to do in Madrid, just follow the city’s urban trail or join the crowds in the city’s plazas and squares. ”
10) “…some Muslims feel anchorless and marginalized. “A proper mosque would act as a focus, a reference point for Islam here,” said Mohammed Halhoul, spokesman for the Catalan Islamic Council. A quarter of Spain’s Muslims live in Catalonia, the northeastern region that is home to Lleida, but the area has no real mosques. “I feel like a Catalan,” Halhoul added, “except when it comes to the question of the mosque.”
The examples above illustrate the following patterns: when it comes to + noun / when it comes to + adjective (comparative / superlative) / when it comes to + verb+ing / (idea + exception) (idea…) except + when it comes to…)
The examples also illustrate how “when it comes to” is used as an alternative linking expression to regarding / with regard(s) to / with respect to / as far as X is concerned but is perhaps slightly less formal.
The it in “when it comes to (something)/verb+ing is empty – it doesn’t refer to anything.
The fixed expression “when it comes to” is very frequent: + 496 million results in a google search (with regards to = around 41 million / with regard to = 76 million / “regarding” = 388 million).
Examples 1, 2, 3 and 4: http://ezinearticles.com/?The-Top-5-Family-Holiday-Destinations-in-Spain&id=4002001
Example 5: http://www.articledashboard.com/Article/When-Luxury-Villas-of-Spain-Beckon-You/275797
Example 6: http://www.wordtravels.com/forum/comments.php?DiscussionID=5867
Example 7: http://www.esmadrid.com/en/portal.do?TR=A&IDR=1&identificador=516
Example 8: http://guiriguidetomadrid.com/2011/03/a-foodie%E2%80%99s-guide-to-visiting-madrid/
Example 9: http://www.nileguide.com/destination/madrid/best/cool-things-to-do
Example 10: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/16/world/europe/16iht-spain.1.11127113.html