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Context

Trevor was intrigued by the problem associated with the use of the indefinite article a. The two versions of the sentence that sparked this reaction are as follows:

Version Gamma:

The tragic element is this: it should not require an (ostensibly fairly rare and not-trivial-to-obtain) external substance to make such a thing an every-day reality.

Version Epsilon:

The tragic element is this: it should not require a ( fairly rare and not-trivial-to-obtain) external substance to make such a thing an every-day reality.

Questions

  • 1) Is version Epsilon grammatically correct?
  • 2) What is the technical nomenclature for the problem that occurs between ostensibly and fairly relative to their position to the indefinite article?
  • Oh alpha and beta, we hardly knew ye. – Dan Bron Sep 20 '15 at 17:49
  • I thought that for every epsilon, there exists a delta. – deadrat Sep 20 '15 at 18:22
  • 1) No. What you have is an aside. It is not part of the sentence and therefore does not affect anything. 2) I'm not sure exactly what you are asking. – VampDuc Sep 21 '15 at 18:55
  • 1
    The first part is addressed by this question: “A/An” preceding a parenthetical statement – sumelic Dec 16 '16 at 1:41

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