The wider context within which I am writing this phrase is:

What is certain, however, is that early twentieth-century piano rolls, while not themselves audio recordings, remain a valid inclusion in a discussion of recordings for their potential to provide insights into ...

Is this grammatically correct? A friend was proofreading my essay and claimed that using the word "inclusion" here was somehow distorting my intended meaning and that "valid element" or "valid aspect" would communicate the point far more clearly.

While I'm 100% not against using 'element' or 'aspect' here, I'm also not at all against using the word "inclusion" - it seems to make perfect sense, as I'm discussing the significance of whether or not piano rolls should be included in such an essay.

Thanks in advance for any tips!


2 Answers 2


The relevant definition of inclusion in Merriam-Webster's Eleventh Collegiate Dictionary (2003) is this one:

2 something that is included, as a : a gaseous, liquid, or solid foreign body enclosed in a mass (as of a mineral) b : a passive usu. temporary product of cell activity (as a starch grain) within the cytoplasm or nucleus

Neither specific meaning of inclusion cited in definitions 2a and 2b has much connection to inclusion in the simple sense of "a subject included in a discussion." That doesn't mean that you couldn't defend using inclusion here on grounds that it means precisely "something that is included," but I think that you would have a clearer and more attractive sentence if you dropped the inclusion wording in favor of something like this:

Nevertheless, early-twentieth-century piano rolls, though not themselves audio recordings, remain a valid subject to cover in a discussion of recordings, because of their potential to provide insights into ...

  • Wowzers, thank you for the great answer. I totally forgot to come back and check this thread. It's been... almost two years!
    – Ivan
    Jun 20, 2016 at 1:01

I would use (if you are trying to stick to inclusion):

remain a valid inclusion in discussions of recordings


justifiably remain included in recordings discussions

because it sounds weird to talk about something being a valid discussion point in a single discussion unless you are talking about a specific past discussion. I think it sounds much better if discussion is pluralized.

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