My thesis title must convey that it covers three topics:

  1. Verification of compressible CFD codes
  2. Verification of incompressible CFD codes
  3. Residual-based mesh adaptation

Note that the first two topics are somewhat similar to each other in that they both are about verification.

Which of the following is the correct formation for the title?

(a) Verification of Compressible, Incompressible CFD Codes and Residual-based Mesh Adaptation

(b) Verification of Compressible, Incompressible CFD Codes, and Residual-based Mesh Adaptation

(c) Verification of Compressible and Incompressible CFD Codes and Residual-based Mesh Adaptation

Note the comma after "CFD Codes" in (b). Also, let's not worry about title case capitation etc. for now.

Are there any other good formations to convey the information about the three topics?

I am not an English major, so pardon any ignorance.

1 Answer 1


I would phrase it as "Residual-based Mesh Adaptation and Verification of Compressible and Incompressible CFD Codes."

If read literally, Option A appears to involve CFD codes that are simultaneously compressible and incompressible, which is surely impossible. Option B is similar, except that it could also be read as a comma-separated list. Since items in a list should all have the same construction, the first item would be read as simply "compressible" (or possibly "verification of compressible").

Option C is the closest by far, except that I would read it as applying "verification of" to "residual-based mesh adaptation," which I don't think is your objective:

  • Verification of ((Compressible and Incompressible CFD Codes) and (Residual-based Mesh Adaptation))
  • Verification of ((A) and (B))

But by making the last item first, we prevent "verification of" from applying to it:

  • (Residual-based Mesh Adaptation) and (Verification of (Compressible and Incompressible CFD Codes))
  • (A) and (Verification of (B))

Of course, if you do want "verification of" to apply to all three items, option C is perfect for you. And it may well be that your audience would readily understand that "verification of" should not be read as applying to the mesh adaptation part, in which case you should feel free to use C as well.

  • Another option—if it is for whatever reason important that the verification part comes first—would be to make the two phrases parallel in construction: “Compressible and Incompressible CFD Code Verification and Residual-based Mesh Adaptation” (or vice versa with two of constructions, if that works for the latter—can you say “Adaptation of Residual-based Mesh(es)”?). Oct 14, 2014 at 14:40
  • @Janus: Or it could be parsed "Mesh Adaptation based on Residuals". Oct 14, 2014 at 14:41
  • 1
    @Peter Indeed—and I’ll certainly not try to guess what either of it may possibly mean, ’cause it’s utter gibberish to me no matter how it’s worded. :-) Oct 14, 2014 at 14:44

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