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I am practicing independent writing for TOEFL iBT test.

I have read a passage which says that universities should focus more on research. I also have a listing in which the lecturer believes that universities must concentrate more on teaching methods. Now I have to write how the lecturer casts doubt on the reading. I did all of that. However, I still have to write the conclusion. So, I want to know if the following sentences are good grammatical conclusions or not.

In conclusion, the reading states that universities should focus more on research, to which the lecturer contradicts by providing three points which form a compelling argument to clarify his point.

or this (please notice the comma)

In conclusion, the reading states that universities should focus more on research, to which the lecturer contradicts by providing three points, which form a compelling argument, to clarify his point.

or this:

In conclusion, the reading states that universities should focus more on research, to which the lecturer contradicts by providing a compelling arguments, throw three points, to illustrate his point.

Also I think that It is wrong to say to illustrate his point because I wrote that the lecturer used three points to contradict. So, according to me, it is wrong to say again why he used the three points. What do you think?

  • Aside from my comment below, note also some repetition of the words which and point. I would try to vary my vocabulary a bit more and make this less confusing, something like: > In conclusion, the reading states that universities should focus more on research, but the lecturer contradicts this notion by providing three clarifying points which form a compelling argument. > In conclusion, the reading states that universities should focus more on research, but the lecturer contradicts this idea and clarifies his own reasoning with a compelling argument, consisting of three points. – CynicallyNaive Apr 16 '16 at 23:08
  • Shouldn't the comma after "In conclusion" be removed because it is a short prepositional phrase? – MilkyWay90 Apr 11 at 3:00
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Using "to" after "research" is wrong here. Nobody contradicts somebody to a point. He just contradicts something. So "to" should be removed from both of the first two examples.

If we leave the "to", to me, the second sentence seems the most correct way to conclude your passage. You are in fact correct in using a comma for the adjective clause i.e. which form a compelling argument which requires commas to be separated from rest of the sentence. Also using "altogether" after "which" or "argument" makes the sentence more meaningful.

This is the difference between your sentence no 1 and sentence no 2 as far as I can see.

Problems I can see in sentence no 3 are using an "a" with "argument-s" and "throw three points" in this sentence does not seem meaningful. (I think you wanted to write "through")

You can change the sentence into:

In conclusion, the reading states that universities should focus more on research, which the lecturer contradicts by providing a compelling argument consisting of throw three points, to illustrate his point.

Also, I don't reckon using "to illustrate his point" will be a wrong usage here.

Illustrate means to clarify something by giving some examples.

So someone might be contradicting something but if he believes he should clarify his point by giving some examples, he surely can do that. Contradiction has nothing to do with illustration. So using illustration is not wrong here.

  • please check this: In conclusion, the reading states that universities should focus more on research, to which the lecturer contradicts by providing three points, which altogether form a compelling argument, to clarify his point. – Marco Dinatsoli Oct 4 '13 at 10:11
  • or what do you think of this : In conclusion, the reading states that universities should focus more on research, against which the lecturer contradicts by providing three points, which form a compelling argument, to clarify his point. – Marco Dinatsoli Oct 4 '13 at 10:12
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    @MarcoDinatsoli, (1) is correct. In (2), "against" is not required for "contradiction" because "contradiction" itself happens against some theory. This "against" lies within contradiction's meaning and therefore implicit. – Mistu4u Oct 4 '13 at 10:18
  • I +1 u,and I will acccept ur answer, just want to wait to see other guy opinion, thanks a lot – Marco Dinatsoli Oct 4 '13 at 10:23
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    @MarcoDinatsoli, ..three point would be ..three points and ..a compelling arguments would be ...a compelling argument and at the end a .. Then it's o.k. :-) – Mistu4u Oct 5 '13 at 9:25
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@Mistu4u's response is correct about the use of contradict--you contradict someone or some argument, never contradict to someone--but there's an important subtlety about the commas on which I disagree.

I would invite both of you to reconsider this as a restrictive clause. It seems to me that the compelling argument is a quite essential characteristic of the three points. If you omit the compelling argument, the three points are no longer very convincing and the lecturer hasn't effectively contradicted the reading. Therefore, since the compelling argument is an essential feature of the three points, the clause is restrictive and does not need commas.

As I hope to convince you, this is a very subtle feature of English punctuation, and it would be hard to deem either one "wrong" (nonstandard) here.

@Mistu4u wrote:

...[T]he second sentence seems the most correct way to conclude your passage. You are in fact correct in using a comma for the adjective clause i.e. which form a compelling argument which requires commas to be separated from rest of the sentence. Also using "altogether" after "which" or "argument" makes the sentence more meaningful.

The reason to use commas here would be not because it's an adjectival clause, but because you consider it a nonrestrictive clause. And if you consider it nonrestrictive, you're saying you could drop the clause like so:

In conclusion, the reading states that universities should focus more on research, ...which the lecturer contradicts by providing three points to clarify his point.

and only change the meaning a little.

But in fact, I don't buy that it's nonrestrictive. To me the compelling argument is absolutely essential to the meaning of this sentence. Take away the compelling argument and I'm no longer interested in the lecturer's three points. :) Therefore, I would consider this a restrictive clause. But I can accept that many native speakers would disagree.

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