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Consider the following sentences. My question is: which one is grammatically correct? (If neither is, what is the correct formulation?)

  • [the name of a chapter], in which he summarizes his past and current research on primordial cosmology, large scale structure formation, evolution of the star formation rate, cosmological simulations and his work on a future space mission.
  • [the name of a chapter], in which he summarizes his past and current research on primordial cosmology, on large scale structure formation, on the evolution of the star formation rate, on cosmological simulations and his work on a future space mission.

I am not a native English speaker.

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    I'd say the the is better left in. The on's after the first one may be dropped (cf I go to the park on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays) but are probably better retained here to show the equivalent prepositional phrases are that rather than tempting a different analysis. The sentence is quite involved. I'd be tempted to put a super-comma (semicolon) before the and. – Edwin Ashworth Dec 14 '13 at 17:33
  • I don't particularly like repeating the "on" here. I take it the problem you want to solve is distinguishing "research" from "work". You could put an "and" before "cosmological simulations", and use "as well as his work on …" – Peter Shor Dec 14 '13 at 17:49
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As is usual with 'which is correct?' questions, both are grammatically correct, but they have different meanings, or at least implications.

The first construction implies a connection between the parts; the professor has perhaps published a paper entitled 'Primordial cosmology and the star formation rate', and the other subjects are similarly related.

The second emphasises the distinction between the subjects; the professor published a paper on primordial cosmology, another on the star formation rate, and so on.

In reality, of course, academia does not lend itself to such distinctions; all the topics are part of astronomy, and each is sufficiently distinct to be worthy of separate research, which will be informed by the work done on all the others. In some cases, though, the distinction is important. I see I have recently gained Stack Exchange rep for my thoughts on etymology, on the bureaucratic mind, and on how to play an out-of-print boardgame; but to list them without 'or' would evoke the image of a very strange post.

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