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Can "de" be used in the same way as an objective use of "of" - that is, in an example, "the fear of death," where "fear" is the noun form of a verb that would normally act upon "death." Would we translate this as "la timo de la morto?"

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Yes, de is commonly used in this way to mark the object of verb-like noun and I believe your example is correct. PMEG calls this “de rilate al aga O-vorto” and has a nice description of it with many examples.

Li tuj faris, kion mi volis, kaj mi dankis lin por la tuja plenumo de mia deziro.

Vortoj kunmetitaj estas kreataj per simpla kunligado de vortoj.

Note that de can also be used in the same way to mark the subject of the verb. The same section in PMEG has examples of this usage.

Sometimes this can create ambiguity. For example:

La frapoj de infanoj en la lernejo estas granda problemo.

Are the children being hit or are they doing the hitting? PMEG also has recommendations of how to avoid the ambiguity where necessary.

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Yes. It is fine to say la timo de morto.

Here is an example from the Tekstaro: Kaj timo de Dio venis sur la urbojn.

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