1

I have a statement like

The performance of the proposed scheme, and its dependence on …

Here, ‘it’ can refer to either the performance of the scheme, or the scheme itself. I changed the statement to

The performance of the proposed scheme, and the dependence of the performance on …

– which doesn’t seem very professional due to redundancy.

It is possible to change the statement in such a manner that it is unambiguous as well as sounds professional (for an academic document)?

For the sake of completeness, the full sentence is

The performance of the proposed scheme, and its dependence on various parameters, including X and Y, is reported.

EDIT:

I was able to use the ideas from some answers here to come up with a sentence that I'm pretty satisfied with:

The proposed scheme's performance and its dependence on various parameters, including X and Y, is reported.

However, now I don't know which answer to accept, since this solution came to me after reading multiple solutions here! Please help?

  • Proof-reading/ writing advice may not be on-topic on ELU. – Kris Jul 1 '14 at 9:35
4

You might try:

The performance of the proposed scheme, and the dependence of that performance on various parameters, including X and Y, is reported.

This is strictly a personal view — although seeing as this question is regarding style, I do not see how it could be otherwise — but the substitution of the definite article the with the determiner that serves to underscore and thus justify the sense of redundancy. It is made to appear quite deliberate, and thus emphasises a focus on clarity, which is, after all, of great importance in academic and formal writing.

  • I agree this is an improvement on the second form, but I actually don't see a problem with the original either (and it's more concise). There is an ambiguity between "the dependence of the proposed scheme..." and "the dependence of the performance...", but the latter is the more obvious interpretation, and the former amounts to just about the same meaning. – bobtato Jul 1 '14 at 11:51
  • @568ml - your suggestion is clear to me. It seems the report actually refers to two things: overall performance, and that performance's dependence on various parameters. By not stating 'overall' in some way, the (slight) ambiguity appears. – Pete855217 Jul 1 '14 at 14:35
  • @bobtato: The distinction is not obvious, and is critical for an academic publication. I would expect the paper would discuss both overall performance, and performance dependence on X and Y variables, as two components in the report. – Pete855217 Jul 1 '14 at 14:45
  • Sure, but I meant that if you misread it as "the dependence of the scheme on X and Y", you would end up taking the same meaning from that as you would from "the dependence of the performance of the scheme"-- so the ambiguity of the pronoun in the first form doesn't change the eventual meaning in this case. – bobtato Jul 1 '14 at 14:55
0

Personally, I have no problem with your first sentence.

Mentally, while reading your sentence, my mind holds onto performance and links it to its dependence. Why? Because the subject of the sentence is performance; the prepositional phrase of the proposed scheme simply adds some descriptive language which modifies performance.

Another person might feel differently, and that's OK. To me, however, the meaning is not lost, even if the descriptive words were to go on forever (well . . . slight exaggeration), as in

"The performance of the proposed scheme which has been put forward by Mr. Stilton from the Research and Development Department of our company, and its dependence on various parameters, including X and Y, is reported."

While I'm at it, however, I am not a big fan of the passive is reported, so I'd change the passive to active, if possible, and recast the sentence:

"Ms. Rocheford has reported that the performance of the proposed scheme is dependent on various parameters, including X and Y."

  • Your suggestions still leave the meaning unclear: is the dependence about the scheme, or the performance? – Pete855217 Jul 1 '14 at 14:47
  • @Pete855217: We may need to agree to disagree agreeably, Pete. To MY ear, the sentence is perfectly understandable. Another example: "The speed of the car--well, it gives me a chill up the spine!" Is there any doubt the "it" refers to speed and not car? Not to me. Almost any similar phrase (is there a grammatical name for it? I'm no grammarian!) separating the pronoun from its referent works pretty much the same, as far as I'm concerned. Don – rhetorician Jul 1 '14 at 16:30
  • The example you provided makes sense to your (and probably everybody's elses) ear because you've chosen two nouns where fear is far more relevant to the first than the second. Contrary to your assertion that 'amost any similar phrase...', there are lots of cases where the meaning is unclear. The OP's was one (hence the question). Here's another: 'The chemical's viscosity and its effect on frogs is detrimental'. So, no, given that kind of example, we don't agree. – Pete855217 Jul 20 '14 at 6:08
0

You could remove the ambiguity like so, though probably at the cost of some readability:

The performance and its dependence on various parameters, including X and Y, of the proposed scheme is reported.

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