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My original sentence is:

Should the doctrine of democracy be proved to be an important and effective mean to control the government, it should not be reformed insofar as the effect of which is to limit the effectiveness of it

I am not sure if the sentence is grammatically correct.

Do you think "should" is a better choice than "if" in this sentence?

Having considered some of the comments below, would it be better if I put it as -

Should the doctrine be proved to be an effective control against the government, any reform that might undermine its effectiveness would be undesirable

Thank you so much

  • The first part of the sentence is fine (except means should be plural). The part that needs correcting is "... it should not be reformed insofar as the effect of which is to limit ..." – Peter Shor Mar 31 '15 at 19:40
  • There are many things wrong with this sentence, but the usage of "should" is not wrong. The overuse of "effective" and "effect", and the probable misuse of "insofar", are what you should be concerned about. – Brian Hitchcock Apr 1 '15 at 11:10
  • Thanks for the comments. May I ask what is wrong with my usage of "insofar as"? How should I correct it? – Alan Apr 1 '15 at 17:03
  • No major syntactic errors, but it's a bit of a brain twister -- it rambles on too long and combines too many different conditional thoughts. – Hot Licks Apr 1 '15 at 17:06
  • @Hot Licks: Think for bringing that out. May I also know if there is any minor syntactic mistake, even if there isn't major error? – Alan Apr 1 '15 at 22:35
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To avoid the repetition of "should" and to make the sentence feel less heavy, I'd go for:

Should the doctrine of democracy be proved to be an important and effective mean to control the government, reforming it were/is to be avoided, as this might limit its effectiveness.

or:

If the doctrine of democracy were proved to be an important and effective mean to control the government, it should not be reformed, as this might limit its effectiveness.

or:

If the doctrine of democracy proved itself to be an important and effective mean to control the government, it should not be reformed, as this might limit its effectiveness.

or:

To the extent that the doctrine of democracy were proved to be an important and effective mean to control the government, it should not be reformed, as this might limit its effectiveness.

This particular inversion was used in the 19C:

Were the doctrine of democracy proved to be an important and effective mean to control the government, it should not be reformed, as this might limit the effectiveness of it.

but isn't too common these days.

  • Thank you for your answer. It seems to me that there are some subtle differences between your first two suggestions and my sentence, as I implicitly avoid to suggest an outright refusal to such a reform. To contextualise my question - As democracy embodies a complex structure, some degree of reform may be supported, but other parts of this doctrine should not be reformed if it were proved to be an important mean. Do you think I somehow misapprehended your suggestions? I apologise for troubling you with this as I am not a native english speaker. – Alan Mar 31 '15 at 18:59
  • Your text here is a bit different. I'll leave that to others. – Marius Hancu Mar 31 '15 at 19:06

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