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Is this grammatical?

English translation: I wouldn't use it in this context

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17:07 Jan 16, 2008
English to English translations [PRO]
Tech/Engineering - Petroleum Eng/Sci / Geological report
English term or phrase: Is this grammatical?
Areas subject to this process become active, areas which had previously been inactive.

I was going to write a sentence somewhat like the one above, to represent an inversion in Russian, where "areas" came at the end of the first clause, so it could be followed by a descriptive phrase. Then I got cold feet, and doubted if this repetition of "areas" was acceptable in formal English. Not even sure what to call it - apposition perhaps? Neither was I sure about the comma being the right separator!

Yes I know I could rewrite it (and I did), but the translation is handed in and I have a few minutes to ponder these things!
David Knowles
Local time: 17:44
English translation:I wouldn't use it in this context
Explanation:
For my taste the clearest version is: Previously inactive areas subject to this process become active.

However, I appreciate that the question that you really want answering is whether you can repeat "areas". Leaving aside questions of what is "right" or "wrong", I would say that the repetition of "areas" a) sounds awkward and unnatural and b) is poor sentence construction in a piece of scientific or technical writing. There might be a place for this sort of thing in a literary piece (although I have my doubts with this specific example, which I think is just awkward on the ear), but in formal or factual usage I would definitely stick to more standard constructions.
Selected response from:

Armorel Young
Local time: 17:44
Grading comment
Thanks Armorel. You're right! I think my problem was that it's a formal rhetorical device, but not a formal written device. Still not sure what it's called though - apposition may be right.
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

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Summary of answers provided
3 +3not quiteKen Cox
3 +2I wouldn't use it in this context
Armorel Young
4Areas subject to this process...kmtext
3no, but here's a suggestion or two
Expialidocious
3areas subject to this process, which had previously been inactive, now become active
Mark Berelekhis


Discussion entries: 5





  

Answers


5 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
is this grammatical?
Areas subject to this process...


Explanation:
Areas subject to this process which had previously been inactive become active.

kmtext
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:44
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish, Native in GaelicGaelic
Notes to answerer
Asker: This is missing the point - I want to know if I could have used a repeated "area", if this is an accepted English grammatical construction (and what it might be called).

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5 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +3
is this grammatical?
not quite


Explanation:
Assuming you mean the same areas in both cases, one way to phrase it is:

Areas subjected to this process become active -- areas that had previously been inactive.

Of course, there are other options, such as:

As a result of this process, areas that were previously inactive become active.

Previously inactive areas treated using this process become active.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 11 mins (2008-01-16 17:19:32 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

(I assume that you actually mean 'subjected to' instead of 'subject to', which means either 'prone to' or 'conditional upon', neither of which seens to fit well with the context.)

Ken Cox
Local time: 18:44
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
Notes to answerer
Asker: Well, you've used a dash where I had a comma. Is that all it needs?


Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  David Moore
1 hr

agree  xxxAlfa Trans
2 hrs

agree  xxxcmwilliams: a dash (not a comma) might work in an informal context, but not in a more formal register.
4 hrs
  -> yeah, I overlooked the formality of the context at first. Armorel's suggestion is the way to go.
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5 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5
is this grammatical?
areas subject to this process, which had previously been inactive, now become active


Explanation:
How about this? Provided that I'm understanding this right.

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Note added at 19 mins (2008-01-16 17:27:27 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Even if it's grammatically correct, it sure sounds awkward, and I definitely wouldn't leave it as is. This way 'areas' isn't repeated, which seems to solve the problem (as long as the meaning stays the same).

Mark Berelekhis
United States
Local time: 12:44
Native speaker of: Native in RussianRussian, Native in EnglishEnglish
Notes to answerer
Asker: This is pretty much what I did, but I'm interested in whether my repeated "areas" is acceptable English.

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1 hr   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +2
is this grammatical?
I wouldn't use it in this context


Explanation:
For my taste the clearest version is: Previously inactive areas subject to this process become active.

However, I appreciate that the question that you really want answering is whether you can repeat "areas". Leaving aside questions of what is "right" or "wrong", I would say that the repetition of "areas" a) sounds awkward and unnatural and b) is poor sentence construction in a piece of scientific or technical writing. There might be a place for this sort of thing in a literary piece (although I have my doubts with this specific example, which I think is just awkward on the ear), but in formal or factual usage I would definitely stick to more standard constructions.

Armorel Young
Local time: 17:44
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 4
Grading comment
Thanks Armorel. You're right! I think my problem was that it's a formal rhetorical device, but not a formal written device. Still not sure what it's called though - apposition may be right.

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Ken Cox
1 hr

agree  xxxcmwilliams
2 hrs
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3 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5
is this grammatical?
no, but here's a suggestion or two


Explanation:
I like Ken Cox's em dash idea, but the grammatical/stylistic logic still seems slightly crooked. To keep your repetition of the word "areas," why not try one of these?

1. Areas subject to this process become active, and these are areas that had previously been inactive.

2. Areas subject to this process become active, even areas that had previously been inactive. (if this is the intended meaning)

In the end, however, there's really no reason to shy away from a straight-forward version like Armorel Young's suggestion.

I found nothing relevant here, but this is a good place to look for things in the future: http://www.bartleby.com/141/

Expialidocious
France
Local time: 18:44
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
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