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Could you help me to check if this sentence is ok?

Beyond having similar osmosis potential to polymer sponges, it is desirable that the covering material possesses the ability of being dispersed by the environment while being continuously replaced by the structure beneath

  1. Can I use the words beyond and ability in this context in a academic paper?

  2. Is possesses employed right?

  • 1
    I'd go with "sponges, the covering material needs to be able to be dispersed". Right now, "beyond" modifies "it" instead of the covering material. – Yosef Baskin Feb 9 at 0:08
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    I wouldn't say "possess the ability of being dispersed". Usually an ability is an ability to do something. In passive voice, it would be "able to be dispersed" as @YosefBaskin says. – Era Feb 9 at 0:26
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The answers to your three questions are respectively yes, no, and no.

In general....

  • Your passive continuous verbs are much too complicated. Native speakers opt for simpler verb constructions than these.

  • The prose is way too heavy.

  • A bunch of your phrasing is just a bit off.


Top Ten Fixes

Here are the first ten things to fix that popped into my mind.

  1. You missed a period at the end of your sentence:

    Beyond having similar osmosis potential to polymer sponges, it is desirable that the covering material possesses the ability of being dispersed by the environment while being continuously replaced by the structure beneath.

  2. The verb possess should not be inflected at all because it is in a subordinate clause traditionally governed by the subjunctive:

    Beyond having similar osmosis potential to polymer sponges, it is desirable that the covering material possess the ability of being dispersed by the environment while being continuously replaced by the structure beneath.

  3. That “similar X to Y” should be “X similar to Y’s”:

    Beyond having osmosis potential similar to polymer sponges’, it is desirable that the covering material possess the ability of being dispersed by the environment while being continuously replaced by the structure beneath.

  4. Heard pronounced aloud that written possessive form still might throw some listeners, so recast with that of:

    Beyond having osmosis potential similar to that of polymer sponges, it is desirable that the covering material possess the ability of being dispersed by the environment while being continuously replaced by the structure beneath.

  5. The term of art in English for what you’re calling osmosis potential with an attributive noun to mean “potential for osmosis” is conventionally expressed using the corresponding attributive adjective instead:

    Beyond having osmotic potential similar to that of polymer sponges, it is desirable that the covering material possess the ability of being dispersed by the environment while being continuously replaced by the structure beneath.

  6. Given that it’s the environment which is able to disperse the covering material, what ability there is to be found here necessarily resides in the action’s subject, not in its object. Try using property not ability, and let’s get rid of at least one of these plodding continuous elements:

    Beyond having osmotic potential similar to that of polymer sponges, it is desirable that the covering material possess the property that it can be dispersed by the environment while being continuously replaced by the structure beneath.

  7. Say continually not continuously:

    Beyond having osmotic potential similar to that of polymer sponges, it is desirable that the covering material possess the property that it can be dispersed by the environment while being continually replaced by the structure beneath.

  8. The passive and continuous are still far too ponderous.

    Beyond having osmotic potential similar to that of polymer sponges, it is desirable that the covering material possess the property that the environment can continually disperse it and the structure beneath replace it.

  9. The subjunctive is too stuffy; use an infinitive with a for complementizer in front of its overt subject:

    Beyond having osmotic potential similar to that of polymer sponges, it is desirable for the covering material to possess the property that the environment can continually disperse it and the structure beneath replace it.

  10. Possess is more simply written have:

    Beyond having osmotic potential similar to that of polymer sponges, it is desirable for the covering material to have the property that the environment can continually disperse it and the structure beneath replace it.


This is why we don’t do proofreading here!

I could go on, and perhaps someone else shall, but that took me far too long as it is.

The entire thing needs to have a brutal pruning knife taken to it. If all your sentences are like this, you have an immense amount of work awaiting you. You’ll have to get not just a native speaker to help you, but someone who can write well — and who isn’t afraid to do the work to edit this into something publishable.

| improve this answer | |
  • Tee hee. That’s better than me. And I’ve had PhD students in tears over my criticism of the English in their theses. I have voted to close as proofreading, but I do have sympathy for students whose supervisors don’t put in the time to teach them to communicate science in clear direct English. Of course, some of the supervisors … – David Feb 9 at 17:26

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