# Thread: the oscillation patterns, or modes

1. ## the oscillation patterns, or modes

While a wide range of frequencies are observed, the intensity of the oscillation patterns, or modes, peaks strongly at a mode having a period of five minutes.
(Encyclopędia Britannica 2010; Sun)

Have I understood the part in bold right?

"[...] the oscillation patterns, or the oscillation modes [...]"

I suppose that if 'modes' represented 'the oscillation patterns' is should have been put this way:

"[...] the oscillation patterns, or the modes [...].

Thanks.

2. ## Re: the oscillation patterns, or modes

Originally Posted by suprunp
While a wide range of frequencies are observed, the intensity of the oscillation patterns, or modes, peaks strongly at a mode having a period of five minutes.
(Encyclopędia Britannica 2010; Sun)

Have I understood the part in bold right?

"[...] the oscillation patterns, or the oscillation modes [...]"
No, I don't think so. It doesn't work with the second "the", which suggests that this is a choice. Without the "the", it's OK.

I suppose that if 'modes' represented 'the oscillation patterns' is should have been put this way:

"[...] the oscillation patterns, or the modes [...].
No, not necessarily. The same applies. In general, we don't use a second "the".
Thanks.
Generally, I'd interpet this as "oscillation pattern" = "mode".
Otherwise, the sentence really should read, "...the intensity of the oscillation patterns, or oscillation modes, peaks strongly ..."

"The most popular pet is the dog, or canine." Right.
"The most popular pet is the dog, or the canine." Wrong.

3. ## Re: the oscillation patterns, or modes

Thank you, Raymott.

Is there still a tiny possibility that what was meant was 'the oscillation modes'?
In other words, is this construction ambiguous and does this imply that one should know the subject to understand everything right?

I've found two more examples of seemingly the same structure in the same article.

Great currents of hot plasma, or ionized gas, carry heat upward.

The most prominent structures in the chromosphere, especially in the limb, are the clusters of jets, or streams, of plasma called spicules (spicule ).

'... or hot ionized gas...'
'... or clusters of streams...'

Thanks.

4. ## Re: the oscillation patterns, or modes

Originally Posted by suprunp
Thank you, Raymott.

Is there still a tiny possibility that what was meant was 'the oscillation modes'?
Certainly. I don't now the subject that's being referred to. But it's definitely possible to write an article that doesn't accord with normal style.

In other words, is this construction ambiguous and does this imply that one should know the subject to understand everything right?
It does help to know the subject. But assuming you didn't, you'd generally infer from this that an "oscillation pattern" was also called a "mode".

I've found two more examples of seemingly the same structure in the same article.

Great currents of hot plasma, or ionized gas, carry heat upward.
Yes, this isn't quite the same. It means that "hot plasma" and "ionized gas" refer to the same thing. There's no ambiguity, as in the original. Yes, I'll concede it's ambiguous. But here, if the plasma is hot, the ionized gas has to be hot as well.

The most prominent structures in the chromosphere, especially in the limb, are the clusters of jets, or streams, of plasma called spicules (spicule ).

'... or hot ionized gas...'
Yes, or hot ionized plasma.
'... or clusters of streams...'
I agree on this one.
Thanks.
Yes, generally, this sort structure can be somewhat ambiguous, or confusing.
(I'll leave you to decide whether to distribute "somewhat" to "confusing" or not.)

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