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"The form and consequences of conformity influence should undergo significant changes given the interposition of a medium that reduces the social presence of participants."

The core message of the sentence above, I understand in these ways in my own words:

  1. "The aura/nature/perception of conformity should change the way which is perceived as to be caught in the middle in a (or some) point that reduces the social presence of participants."

  2. "The aura/nature/perception of conformity, which is perceived as to be caught in the middle in a (or some) point that reduces the social presence of participants, should change."

Question #1: I am not sure whether my two explanations are correct.

I think this 'given' verb messed up my mind. I guess there was a relative pronoun before 'given' such as: (changes + that given), (changes + which given), (changes + were given), (changes + that were given), (changes + which were given), (changes + that to be given), (changes + which to be given) and lastly (changes + to be given).

Question #2: And in my sentences I wrote (...perceived as TO BE caught...) So was this infinitive form in the sentences wrong, inadequate or unnecessary?

Thanks in advance for the answers.

  • 3
    The sentence and your rewordings are near-gobbledygook. Throw them all away. Instead, write what you mean using two or three short sentences. – James Waldby - jwpat7 Feb 13 '13 at 19:38
  • I appreciate for your advice. I admit that my rewordings seem weird. But I don't think the sentence is written unnecessarily complex. For a non-English speaker (and for those who are not in advanced level) this is a pretty hard one. I was reviewing a scientific article and I was not able to figure out the structure of the aforementioned sentence. And it doesn't mean that each word for a scientific article must be very simple and therefore must be chosen meticulously. Anyway, thanks to WendiKidd, I learned well. – ToksozC Feb 13 '13 at 20:56
  • The sentence seems unnecessarily complex (cf. "Politics and the English language"). – Mechanical snail Feb 15 '13 at 0:01
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In this sentence, "given" has similar meaning to "bearing in mind" or "taking into account" (or more concisely, "considering"). Therefore your original sentence:

"The form and consequences of conformity influence should undergo significant changes given the interposition of a medium that reduces the social presence of participants."

can be rewritten as:

"The form and consequences of conformity influence should undergo significant changes considering the interposition of a medium that reduces the social presence of participants."

Therefore what we draw from this sentence is this: A medium has been interposed. That medium reduces the social presence of participants. Considering this fact, the form and consequences of conformity influence are likely to undergo significant changes.

If you flip the clauses around, it might become a bit clearer:

"The interposition of a medium that reduces the social presence of participants should cause the form and consequences of conformity influence to undergo significant change."

As you can see, all I really did was switch the first and second halves of the sentence around, but it makes the cause and effect a bit easier to understand.


Regarding your second question, you should have written "which is perceived to be caught". The "to be" is fine, the "as" is not. You also are missing some commas there - you need one after "conformity" and after "participants".

  • 1
    I think it might be stretching things just a little bit to say given equates to because of, due to. In practice it would normally net down to the same thing, but really all it means is bearing in mind, taking into account. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Feb 13 '13 at 22:45
  • @FumbleFingers Fair point. I'll edit to reflect! – WendiKidd Feb 13 '13 at 23:35

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