The sentence is this:

I believe that contributing to the scholarly community is fundamental for successful functioning of academic institutions and progress of scientific research.

Does "sucessful functioning" need a "the"? Also, does "progress" need one too? I have a feeling that they're optional as the progress and functioning are in general and unspecific.

  • 1
    A definite article is optional, but not required, before successful functioning of academic institutions. But it is required before progress of scientific research. So either put it before progress, put it before both, or put it before the first one only, and optionally change the order of conjuncts. Aug 17, 2014 at 15:26
  • You can up your average syllable count by substituting Indisputably, for I believe that, and advancement for progress, and investigation for research. Aug 17, 2014 at 15:28
  • @jwpat7 I agree that the sentence is unnecessarily complicated. But I didn't write it, I swear!
    – Paul Jones
    Aug 17, 2014 at 15:45
  • Grammar does not work that way, even in English. The construction is fully parallel, so either both are required, or both are optional. So, yeah it is officially optional, but no native speaker could avoid tripping over the fact it was missing. Aug 17, 2014 at 17:39

1 Answer 1


Yes, you want people to immediately hear 'functioning' as a noun. Most native speakers would trip over 'for functioning of X' because they expect 'functioning' here to be an adjective as in 'for functioning equipment to be delivered'. When they go to the preposition, they would backtrack to recast the verb as a noun rather than an adjective.

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