I am reviewing papers where the authors use:

This work takes the minimal cut sets approach.

I am thinking if they are correct, etc the last one: This work takes the minimal cut sets approach, I would probably change to

  1. This work takes the approach of minimal cut sets.
  2. This work takes the minimal-cut-sets approach.

However, I do not know the technical field so well so I am not certain to propose such a thing.

  • What is the technical field, please? At first glance it would seem to make very little difference whether it was Venn diagrams or planks of wood… Sep 24 '16 at 16:52
  • Mathematics and Engineering. Sep 24 '16 at 17:23

Thanks and after reading http://www.weibull.com/hotwire/issue63/relbasics63.htm for elucidation, I think your No 2 is much better.

It should be clear if the example is reduced to 'This work takes the… sets approach' that either is rather lame. In that context the emphasis will fall on the first element and the description is more important than the process, is it not?


If this sentence occurred by itself, I'd be inclined to hyphenate "minimal-cut-sets" as in your second suggested revision, to avoid a misreading where "minimal" modifies "approach" rather than "sets". If the sentence occurred in a context that would (or at least should) prevent that misreading, then the original, unhyphenated version would seem OK.


The original was chosen lastly because of the context in Engineering so not (1-2).

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