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    #1

    Separating verb and preposition in a sentence

    Dear all,

    is the spatial separation of "order" and "in" in the following sentence correct

    "The relational operator is only defined for pairs, which represent the order objects may be acquired in.",

    or does it have to be

    "The relational operator is only defined for pairs, which represent the order in which objects may be acquired."?

    I searched several online resources but couldn't find similar sentences, hence I tend to believe it is the second sentence.

    Thanks,
    Malte

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    #2

    Re: Separating verb and preposition in a sentence

    Quote Originally Posted by curious81 View Post
    1. "The relational operator is only defined for pairs, which represent the order objects may be acquired in."

    2. "The relational operator is only defined for pairs, which represent the order in which objects may be acquired."
    #2 is more formal. #1 is perfectly acceptable; indeed, it is more common in speech and informal writing.

    If you are being very careful about your constructions, you might want to put 'only' before 'for pairs', if those are the only things being defined.

    The comma after 'pairs' is also suspect. I suspect that you mean 'pairs representing the order...', rather than pairs '(which represent...)'.

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    #3

    Re: Separating verb and preposition in a sentence

    If #2 is indeed more formal I'll use that one, because the sentence is part of a Master's thesis.

    Regarding your comment about the comma, my justification would be the following:
    If I am not mistaken, "...defined for pairs representing the order..." implies that there are several types/classes/categories of pairs, one of them representing an order. In contrast, "...defined for pairs, which represent the order..." implies that there is only one class of pairs, and that one represents an order.
    In general I try to use the comma-less -ing form style as much as possible, but I wasn't sure if it can be used here.

    Thanks,
    Malte
    Last edited by curious81; 10-Mar-2011 at 12:19. Reason: Fixed a typo

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