The next question is if X is a regulation based on subjective condition or a regulation based on objective condition.

I wrote the sentence like the above in my research paper.

A basic structure of the sentence is 'the question is if A is B or C'

I'm concerned if my sentence is too 'simple'.

I want to make my sentence more elegant

Is there any way to express it (the question is if A is B or C') in other ways?


Elegance for the sake of elegance is generally deprecated in academic style, and simplicity is regarded as a virtue.

However, the sentence can be made easier to parse:

  • if may lead a reader to expect a conditional construction, and then have to adjust her interpretation when she discovers it has a different sense. Replace if with whether.

  • if/whether X is a regulation ... may lead her to expect that the question is whether X is or is not a regulation; and (again) have to adjust her interpretation. There appears in fact to be no question that X is a regulation, so move regulation, and eliminate its repetition:

    The question is whether regulation X is based on a subjective or an objective condition.

Much simpler, and much easier to read.


I don't think your sentence is "too simple," but I do think it's a little awkward and can be improved.

You could cut most of the introductory words and be more direct:

Furthermore, is X a regulation based on subjective conditions, or on objective conditions?

I think the culprit here is your first is:

The next question is...


  • One way to improve your writing is to restructure sentences that are built around the word "is".

  • You can improve your writing by restructuring sentences that are built around the word "is".

See what I did there?


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.