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.

I am writing a paper and I want to criticize some other related work. I want to say that the problem of their work is that they don't support advanced composition rules. So which one is a better phrasing and why:

The shortcoming of their approach is that they only support simple composition rules.

Or

The shortcoming of their approach is the lack of support of advanced composition rules.

I will be grateful if you suggest a better phrasing.

share|improve this question
add comment

2 Answers

The shortcoming of their approach is its lack of support for|of advanced composition rules.

sounds better to me (with the caveat that I have no idea what advanced composition rules are in this (unknown) context, and would be better able to respond if I did), but there's no one right answer to a question of this sort.

share|improve this answer
    
Why did you change the to its? I would imagine its here sounds like duplication, because we already mentioned their approach so the lack would by default be referring to their support. –  Promather Jan 17 '11 at 17:57
    
I switched it simply because I thought it sounded better. It also clarifies whose lack it is: their approach's lack, or their own lack. (I trust I've chosen correctly?) –  msh210 Jan 17 '11 at 19:07
add comment

Without more context it's hard to say, but I'd try something like the following:

Their approach fails to support advanced composition rules.

We've done three things here:

  1. We've pulled the most important part out, so that it's now the main clause. In both of the original examples, the important part is buried in a subordinate clause or a prepositional phrase.

  2. We've strengthened that clause by turning a wimpy negative ("lack of support"/"support only") into a positive statement ("fails to support"). We're saying what it does do. "J'accuse!"

  3. We've dropped the "shortcoming" bit entirely. I'm taking a liberty here, but at this point, it seems redundant. We've already characterized it as a failure.

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.