Is the phrase "shaped the outlines" grammatically correct in this sentence? I want it to indicate that this subject played a key role in shaping my interests:

By introducing leading approaches to observe and evaluate conditions of internal body organs through techniques that limit the use of invasive clinical procedures, this course shaped the outlines of my desired discipline and career.

closed as off-topic by Lumberjack, JEL, Phil Sweet, jimm101, user240918 Aug 28 '18 at 14:54

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  • zpl donna be uzn brv8snz @ELU, ktnxbai – tchrist Jan 6 '18 at 16:56
  • The first part of your sentence could be tightened, I think. I see where you want to go, but rather than shaped the outlines, how about simply outlined, gave contour to, or even gave direction to? – KarlG Jan 6 '18 at 17:03
  • @KarlG You're right, The first part is too long but I don't know how to keep it shorter while losing no valuable details. – Ghazal Sahebzamani Jan 6 '18 at 17:09
  • @KarlG Outline as a verb seems ok but I don't want it to convey that this subject was the only source of shaping my future. By saying "shaping the outlines", I wanted it to sound more like the whole general idea was being formed slowly rather than all the outlines being shaped at once merely by this course. – Ghazal Sahebzamani Jan 6 '18 at 17:13
  • 4
    @Ghazal.S It seems you should explore other ways of stating your idea. Even when grammatically speaking the phrase is not wrong, it does not make for easy reading. You may want to take a paper and write 5 to 10 possible ways of expressing your thoughts. It is hard work, but it always payback in many ways. From there, you can then start eliminating. – Dennis R Hidalgo Jan 11 '18 at 0:58

There's nothing wrong with the phrase "shaped the outlines" necessarily, per the word's definition:

American Heritage Dictionary

  1. a. To influence in a formative way.
  2. b. To direct the course of.

But it could be argued that the immediate addition of the phrase "of my desired discipline and career" makes it unnecessarily wordy (why not just "shaped my desired discipline and career"?).

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