I am a rookie in learning English. I want the clause after "and" to be governed by the same subject, but the sentence before "and" is sometimes complex.


The process reclines to random move where almost all solutions generated from the neighborhood is accepted AND reaches global optimum very slowly.

So I want the sentence after AND to inherit the process as the subject (so the process reaches...), is it a correct way to write like this? How about other possible subject in that sentence, like the neighborhood, all solutions ? Sometimes it confuses me about which subject the clause after "AND" will use?

Thanks for the BIG HELP!

  • The first part of the sentence doesn't make any sense. What is “the process reclines to random move” supposed to mean? Recline means to lean back in your chair… how can a situation do that? “Reaches global optimum” also sounds quite strange (optimum is usually ideal conditions for a plant to grow—does this have anything to do with plants?). If we ignore that, however, and make the sentence at least grammatical by adding an indefinite article before random move and changing is to are, then there's no ambiguity with and. That part works fine. Commented Aug 16, 2016 at 23:24
  • Just change "is accepted" to "are accepted", and then the sentence is fine.
    – Greg Lee
    Commented Aug 16, 2016 at 23:24
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    You should take a look at our sister site, English Language Learners, which is specifically for people who are learning English. This site is for the finer and more niggly points of English grammar and usage; questions like this one are more likely to get good answers on English Language Learners. Commented Aug 16, 2016 at 23:26
  • I'll give you the advice my spouse always gives me when I present a problematic sentence for fixing: "Think Hemingway. Use short, simple sentences." Commented Aug 16, 2016 at 23:33
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    @lycnbb It cannot be all solutions, because that is plural. It also cannot be the neighbourhood because that is not a subject in the first sentence, but the object of a preposition. It can only be the process. A verb can only inherit a subject as its subject, no matter how complex the sentence is. Commented Aug 16, 2016 at 23:46

1 Answer 1


Rewriting the example sentence as:

The process falls back on a move randomly chosen from among all the acceptable solutions generated from the neighborhood and reaches global optimum very slowly.

might explain why "reclines" was used in the posted example. However "reclines" does not share the idiomatic usage of "fall back on" and needs to be replaced. Possible alternatives to "recline" include

  • fall back on meaning "to begin to use someone or something held in reserve" The Free Dictionary, 2.,
  • default to meaning to choose an option when no information is available to make a more specific choice, TFD, noun, 4. used as a verb, or
  • degenerate to to mean decline in function from an original state (TFD).

In the rewritten example above, "process" is the only noun or noun phrase in the sentence with nominative case. "Move", "all the solutions" and "neighborhood" appear as indirect objects of a preceding verb or past participle and have dative case. Dative case is not used for the subject of a verb, leaving "process" as the subject of "reaches".

The original example sentence posted requires slightly different analysis. "When" introduces a subordinate clause containing "is" as the verb (which should be "are" to match with "solutions"). Subordinate clauses can take a trailing comma to indicate their status, so inserting a comma after "neighborhood" should clarify that "when ... neighborhood" is a subordinate clause and not the subject of "reaches".

  • That is a great lesson!
    – lycnbb
    Commented Aug 17, 2016 at 19:15

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