Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Let a system S has a property A. I want to say something like this,

  • A is the property of a system that regulates the concentration of Sodium ions. Or,

  • A is the property of system which regulates the concentration of Sodium ions.

I think it says that A is found in a systems which regulates the concentration of Sodium ion. I am OK with it, but not happy. I thought following would better for it emphasizes A.

  • A is the property of a system by which it regulates the concentration of Sodium ions.

One of my friend (not a native speaker) thinks that both sentences are equivalent and the former has the advantage of using less word to convey the same. I think that second one has different meaning.

share|improve this question
    
Sodium ions should be plural, and you probably should refer to a property of the system. –  Bradd Szonye Oct 18 '13 at 20:47
add comment

1 Answer 1

I think you have your articles mixed up in both sentences. Try these:

A is a (or the) property of the system that regulates the concentration of sodium ions.

Or

The system that regulates the concentration of sodium ions includes property A.

Or

Property A is the property of the (or a) system which regulates the concentration 
of sodium ions.

Or

Property A regulates the concentration of sodium ions in the (or a) system.

I think it depends on whether you have several properties in the system, or several systems which include different properties, or several systems that all included property A. If you say a system then there could be several possible systems and property A could be specific to that one system or other systems. If you say the system then that might be the only system for regulating sodium ions. If you say a property A then you are saying one property of the system functions as the regulator. Normally we do not use a in front of a specific property. Instead we say the property A regulates... or just Property A regulates... If I were writing the lab report, and there was more than one possible system I would write:

Property A regulates the concentration of sodium ions in this system.

I was careful to designate a specific system with the word this. I would not say this is the only property that regulates..., because I might not be correct if I am a beginning lab student.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.