I am searching for a more sophisticated phrase that would express a specific connection between items mentioned in my paper. I wish to explain that the connection is not like a vertical line but more like a circle. I'll try to present this in form of graphs to make it a bit easier to understand.

The first one is: item A ---> item B (the importance is placed on the first element which influences the other (assumed less significant)

the other: A ---> B ---> A (sorry, I couldn't draw a circle) (importance is, to my way of thinking, placed on item A)

I wish to build build a sentence similar to : Instead of thinking about A-B linkage "in vertical terms", it should be examined as .. circle?

It sounds MUCH better in my head :/


"instead of thinking about an A-B linkage "in vertical terms" (or hierarchical?) it should be examined as a circular reference...

Maybe you were over thinking it a little :) (we all do that at times)


Try: Linear and circular.

Vertical works only if you have established a reasonably clear meaning for the up/down dimension.

  • This was my thought behind using hierarchical, in order for A to influence B - Linear would suggest that A and B are equal - Although in a circular reference they would be linearly related (which may have been your point) – Michael B Jul 5 '15 at 17:50
  • No, I knew "linear" might be wrong in that way. It doesn't suggest the directedness of the relationship. But I couldn't think of a better word without more information. What does the vertical dimension represent? Importance? Priority? Dependence? Subordination? Precedence? Something else? – Dale Emery Jul 5 '15 at 18:06
  • "the importance is placed on the first element which influences the other" << I'd guess importance ;) - But more seriously, I suspect it is saying that B is in some way a subset of A. When you see things in a hierarchy, it is (usually) obvious what the separation is. We understand the concept clearly enough to be able to reproduce the lines of separation in our own minds. – Michael B Jul 5 '15 at 18:11
  • Hmmm. That's three possible relationships: Importance, influence, and "in some way" subsettedness. Probably the relationship you're representing is clearer in context. Can you give a few examples? (My hunch is that you'd be better off stating the relationship directly, rather than mapping it onto a more abstract idea like verticality.) – Dale Emery Jul 5 '15 at 18:17

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