Which of these verbs would you choose to insert?

The survey on the wall stretches present in the burg, along with the subsequent comparison with the masonry of the medieval tower, have contributed to hypothesize/guess the evolution of the wall belt and therefore the possible expansion of the burg.

  • This passage is incomprehensible as it is not English. The choice of one word is impossible and irrelevant. Go to English Language Learners and explain what, for example, you are trying to say in "the survey on the wall stretches present
    – David
    Mar 25, 2017 at 19:49
  • I hear a noun: "...have contributed to our hypothesis on the evolution..." The beginning of the sentence must mean this: "Surveying the wall stretches that are still present in the burg ... have contributed to our hypothesis on the evolution..." Mar 28, 2017 at 22:10

2 Answers 2


Neither, because a noun rather than a verb is needed.

The structure of the sentence you are asking about seems to be:

The survey and other things have contributed to…


Insert missing verb — hypothesize or guess


…the development of the archaelogical site (or whatever).

In English “contribute to” must be followed by a noun, rather than a verb; and in this sentence that would be followed by a relative pronoun, “that”. So the verbs would become the nouns “hypothesis” (always preferable in any case, as the original form) and “guess”. In a technical publication the honesty of “guess” is unlikely to attract professional approval, so that “hypothesis” would be the better alternative. However I would consider using the simpler and less pretentious word, “idea”:

The survey and other things have contributed to the idea that the development of the archaelogical site…

Having solved that problem you are left with the fact that the surrounding parts of the sentence are almost incomprehensible. The general solution to such an overweight sentence is to divide it into two. One way of doing this would be:

  1. The wall was surveyed and compared with the masonary of the present-day tower (or whatever the first part of your sentence means).

  2. This led to the idea/hypothesis that the wall-belt evolved (Darwin where are you now? Do you mean was extended over time?) as perhaps did the town(?).

  • Thank you for helping me "The survey on the wall stretches still present in the burg, along with the comparison between it (for "it" I mean the survey -and its results-) and the masonry of the medieval tower, have contributed to our hypotesis on the development of the wall belt and therefore on the expansion of the burg itself." Does it still "su*ks"? :(
    – ValentEEna
    Apr 5, 2017 at 10:42
  • 1
    The initial confusion is caused (for me at least) by three words — "on", which should be "of", "stretches" which I read initially as a verb, but you are using as a noun, and "present", which, having been confused by stretches, I read as a verb. Although these latter two uses are valid, the fact that I stumbled over them shows there is a problem in communication. I still think division into two sentences is best, but I would also do something like "survey of areas/lengths of the wall still remaining". Also, be sure to introduce "burg" (German?), it will be unfamiliar to most English speakers.
    – David
    Apr 5, 2017 at 14:01

If you are writing this at the beginning of a paper I would choose 'hypothesise', as 'guess' is very informal and suggests a lack of empirical evidence.

If this is at the end of the writing, like a conclusion, I would use "Theorise" as a hypothesis is usually stated at the beginning of a paper to be tested throughout, though all of that depends heavily of the context you are writing in.

  • How can you answer this question when the passage is completely meaningless?
    – David
    Mar 25, 2017 at 19:50
  • Well, the particular question they asked is more about context than content, my answer doesn't rely on understanding the sentence. This site seems to consist mostly of two extremes; English language enthusiasts, and people who suck at English writing in comparison (I count myself amongst the latter, though not as bad as some). The problem is that despite the perfect set up for enthusiasts to help the less skilled most of them seem to refuse to fill in the gaps for people that need the help the most. It's not that hard to assume around a few mistakes and give the best advice possible.
    – Keith
    Mar 27, 2017 at 19:18
  • OK, I have taken pity on the poster and wrestled with his sentence. But, how can you fit a verb in — surely it needs a noun?
    – David
    Mar 27, 2017 at 19:52
  • The bold words seem to be trying to convey that people have 'figured out' how the wall came to be and why (or whatever it's talking about) so I think a verb works (but like I said I don't consider myself an expert), since they're looking for a word to describe actively learning or discovering things about the subject. Does that make any sense? Sorry if it doesn't, I've had a long day.
    – Keith
    Mar 27, 2017 at 22:27
  • Ok. It's not easy to work out what is meant and the poster seems to wish it kept a secret.
    – David
    Mar 27, 2017 at 22:30

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