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My question is only aimed at written English, and my only guidance is that using less words is generally better [source: 6th grade English teacher]. Hence:

The system is responsible to define standards for the construction of the architecture.

vs.

The system is responsible for standard definition guiding architecture construction.

It seems to me that in the first sentence, using "to" "the" "for" between each noun makes understanding the meaning very easy, but it feels a bit clunky.

In the second sentence, I tried to condense the actual content somewhat. But I imagine that having 5-6 such sentences in a row makes for hard reading, because the role of each noun is not as clear anymore.

Am I correct in my assumptions? The style I am aiming for is "academic".

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I agree with your general approach - use the minimum amount of words necessary to a) get your meaning across and b) communicate clearly with your audience (this required you to know your audience). This second rule might mean you have to increase the number of words - it's a balancing act.

However, I don't think either of those sentences are grammatical, and they don't even make sense. For a start, you don't "construct architecture" - architecture is the design, or the design process. You can look at a building and say it has "beautiful architecture" but that's like saying "I love the design". Architecture and construction are two separate stages of creating a building.

If we were to fix this problem by saying "building" instead of "architecture" (since the construction of buildings is very standard driven) your first sentence would be

"The system is responsible to define standards for the construction of the building."

This sounds badly translated - you would say "for building construction", not "the construction of the building". Also, we say "responsible for": "responsible to" means that you can be held responsible by that other party - eg "The president is responsible to all voters, not just the ones who voted him in."

For a short version, I would write

"The system is responsible for building construction standard definition.", or if you thought this was a little difficult to parse, you could say

"The system is responsible for defining standards for building construction."

  • The sentences are about IT, not house-buidling. =) In that lingo, I can assure that the sentences do make sense. So your answer is "balance the two"? – arecknag Jun 6 '16 at 8:10
  • Arg, why didn't you just use the real sentences then instead of some badly written examples? My answer is "make it as clear and precise as you think your audience can handle". For example, "precision" can involve using a word which is absolutely perfect, semantically, but not commonly used. You need to judge whether it's worth the risk. Some audiences prefer this sort of thing, some are turned off by it. – Max Williams Jun 6 '16 at 8:17
  • I can work with that, thank you. The sentence actually is the original, "architecture" just means something different in IT than in "common sense". – arecknag Jun 6 '16 at 8:28
  • Whatever the context, "The system is responsible to define standards for the construction of the architecture." is very badly written. – Max Williams Jun 6 '16 at 8:35
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Would this wording preserve the intended meaning?

The system defines standards for constructing architecture.

I feel like you could do without the "is responsible for."

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