I wrote:

After calling the function on the child nodes, the Match function is called another time to match further rules. This time, the rules which depend on the values of the variables set in the function calls are retrieved.

I used a cascade of relative clauses. Is it normal to have such cascade in an article? How can I rephrase it so that it be shorter? as an extreme example consider

the rules that depends on the variables set by the functions called on the strings given by a user who is assigned a task which is ....

Second, is it "in function calls" or "on function calls"?

Third, should I say variables set in the function calls or variables that might be set in the function calls. Because maybe no variable is set in the function calls.

Update: I might be able to shortcut the dependency by:

...This time, the rules whose (related, dependent, used) variables were set in the function calls are retrieved

  • You think that's a long sentence? It doesn't look so bad to me! I think it's actually reasonably clear - the only thing I might change is to put "are retrieved" closer to "rules".
    – stangdon
    Oct 7, 2016 at 16:20
  • Ahmad, as a technical person I feel it's much nicer to use short declarative sentences, or even numbered lists of instructions where appropriate. Unfortunately many people think it's good practice to use compound sentences like yours, which is why technical writing is often so tedious and abtruse.
    – Andrew
    Oct 7, 2016 at 16:40
  • @stangdon right, maybe awkward is a better description because several modifiers are used
    – Ahmad
    Oct 7, 2016 at 16:58
  • Please note: call up or retrieve, but not just call. A calls up B; B is called up by A;
    – Lambie
    Oct 7, 2016 at 17:18
  • 1
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because questions about Writing Advice are off-topic, as the Help Center (if that matters) says. Oct 7, 2016 at 17:56

1 Answer 1


Try This time, the appropriate rules are retrieved, based on the values of the variables that were set in the function calls.

Or Rules are retrieved depending upon the values of variables set earlier

Rather than using "variables that might be set in the function calls", you could use "variables set in the function calls, if any."

  • Thank you, I also think I should start it with an active voice: This time it retrieves the rules ....
    – Ahmad
    Oct 7, 2016 at 16:13

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