I wrote:

But the first stage is to acquire a suitable image from the middle frame of each pallet car. In the next section, .....

Which is better for the blank

  1. we propose a method for this purpose.
  2. we propose a method to do this.
  3. we propose a method for this.
  4. we propose a method for it.

Sometimes I don't know which noun is suitable to refer to an already mentioned thing. then I may just use "this". Is it common in writing in English? or is it better to always find a suitable noun after "this", like this purpose, this task, this job. what are common words for these occasions?

  • 3
    #2 is the clearest, since by mentioning "to do" it refers the reader back to the infinitive phrase in the preceding clause, establishing without any doubt the antecedent to this. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Sep 6 '16 at 11:10
  • As the above comment states, #2 is the best.#3 and 4 get your point across but result in a little ambiguity that a native will have no trouble understanding. – G-Cam Sep 6 '16 at 14:05
  • 1
    (cont.) What you are describing is a "task" or "job", not a "purpose". "We propose a method for this purpose" answers the question "Why are you proposing a method?" It suggests that the following sentences will contain information about "why" you are proposing a method, not "what" that method is. – G-Cam Sep 6 '16 at 14:30

We propose a method to accomplish this.

"Accomplish" is a more formal equivalent of "do".

This is a nice example showing that you do not need a noun after "this". You could read up on "demonstrative pronouns".

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