Let me start by saying I am not good at grammar by any means. I am prone to run-on sentences and comma splices, so this sentence is most likely rubbish. But, here it is:

"In this reading, Rothenberg refers to the beauty in nature as merely “arbitrary accidents” (303), which in my opinion, undermines all of the diverse attributes and qualities possessed by animals and plants that have evolved in nature for thousands of years."

Are the commas after the quotation and "in my opinion" acceptable? Are there any other things wrong this this sentence? Thank you.

  • Very far from being rubbish…Anyway, let me remind you that sentence parsing is not done on the present site. You must keep to specific points of grammar and semantics, and as well pronunciation. They must not be of a basic sort either as then another site (for English learners, ELL) must be used. You might ask about the comma, as you did, but normally, nothing else.
    – LPH
    Dec 3, 2020 at 23:32

1 Answer 1


Your sentence is good. I think the only key thing you missed is referring to "beauty" (something abstract) in nature and later referring to it with the plural noun "accidents". I would correct this as follows, with some minor edits including cutting the passive voice:

In this reading, Rothenberg refers to the creatures of nature as merely “arbitrary accidents” (303). In my opinion, this undermines the diverse qualities animals and plants possess, having evolved gradually in nature.

Further comments: "beauty" did not go with "accidents"; "which" was not clearly referring to anything; "qualities" and "attributes" were too similar; and "possess" was too far back in the sentence to have an impact.

Thank you for trying! Keep it up.

  • This was very helpful. Thank you!
    – Lexie
    Dec 3, 2020 at 21:50
  • You are very much welcome. Please accept the answer if you feel like it. Dec 3, 2020 at 21:52
  • I think that "which" has for antecedent a whole clause "Rothenberg…(303)" and that it is used in a proper construction: Wikipedia Susan lies all the time, which everybody knows about. - Entire clause as antecedent. — Also, I don't think that there is anything wrong with "refers to the beauty in nature as merely “arbitrary accidents”", be it semantically or grammatically.
    – LPH
    Dec 3, 2020 at 23:08
  • 1
    However, on second thought, it seems there might be something of value in your criticism. From "Rothenberg refers to the beauty in nature as merely “arbitrary accidents” (303)" can be inferred a point of view and the clause is not a representation of the point of view but that of an act which implies it. Therefore, I agree that would perhaps be preferable something like "Rothenberg refers to the beauty in nature as merely “arbitrary accidents” (303), and that reflects a point of view, which, in my opinion, undermines all of the divers…".
    – LPH
    Dec 3, 2020 at 23:23

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