0

Here's the sentence -

On further statistical analysis, these benefits were found to be both short term (0-30 days) and long term (31-360 days) and in both STEMI and UA/NSTEMI patients, irrespective of whether PCI was done or not.

I was tempted to write this sentence in the following way:

On further statistical analysis, these benefits were found to be both short term (0-30 days) and long term (31-360 days), and in both STEMI and UA/NSTEMI patients; irrespective of whether PCI was done or not.

Any thoughts on what the right way is?

1

It is rather a mouthful as it stands (version 1), though not ungrammatical.

However, using a semicolon would not be standard, as you would not be separating into two complete sentences. People could probably (and would probably) argue over whether it is incorrect to leave a sentence fragment on one side of a semicolon, though most people accept sentence fragments as not incorrect per se.

Brackets tend to be an acceptable stratagem:

On further statistical analysis, these benefits were found to be both short term (0-30 days) and long term (31-360 days), and in both STEMI and UA/NSTEMI patients (irrespective of whether PCI was done or not).

However, the parenthesis could be seen as applying solely to the two classes of patients, so a second comma would be preferable here:

On further statistical analysis, these benefits were found to be both short term (0-30 days) and long term (31-360 days), and in both STEMI and UA/NSTEMI patients, irrespective of whether PCI was done or not.

For absolute disambiguation, re-ordering is preferable:

On further statistical analysis, irrespective of whether PCI was done or not these benefits were found to be both short term (0-30 days) and long term (31-360 days), and in both STEMI and UA/NSTEMI patients.

  • Your version makes absolute sense. Thanks! It would also be nice if you could comment on the use of comma after "(31-360 days)". Is there a general rule that governs that usage in lists such as this or is it just to make things more clear? Could that comma be left out? Appreciations! – Aman Aug 24 '14 at 20:23
  • There are many 'rules' governing comma usage. I think that some of them are so sensible that they deserve to be rules. However, commas are nowadays sometimes omitted where they would once have been considered mandatory – and included where no one would consider them necessary, to signal a pause to the reader for stylistic reasons. Have a look through some of the relevant posts here. With your example, the comma divides cohesive sections of the sentence in a helpful way. Just to make things more clear!? Just!? // I've decided that two commas show the structure better in your example. – Edwin Ashworth Aug 24 '14 at 20:45
0

I would say that the original construction is perfectly grammatical, albeit bordering on a run-on sentence.

Your suggested edit is, in my opinoin, not grammatically correct. The bit after the semicolon must be able to stand on its own as a sentence.

So if you must have the ";", I would go with:

"On further statistical analysis, these benefits were found to be both short term (0-30 days) and long term (31-360 days), and in both STEMI and UA/NSTEMI patients; this was irrespective of whether PCI was done or not.",

which is grammatically sound but adds two rather unnecessary words. Still, it might be a little easier to parse.

Parentheses might be preferred by some, but that's largely subjective. I think the original construction is fine, especially for a scientific (medical) journal. Being grammatically perfect is less of a priority in the technical literature; it's rather more important to convey findings and meaning in an unambiguous fashion.

(See how I used the semicolon there?)

Are you the editor, the reviewer or (one of) the author(s) here?

  • Thanks for your inputs Deepak! I'm one of the authors and this is my very first attempt at scientific writing. It's been a steep learning curve in terms of both academic and literary skills. Best, Aman. – Aman Aug 25 '14 at 17:23

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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