Now I want to write a sentence as follows for my scientific paper:

Microwave energy is an efficient heating tool for the materials possessing dielectric molecules such as water.

Here, is it OK if I use only one example of 'water' after 'such as'?

I think I have seen so many examples using 'like' to bring just one example.

However, I heard that 'like' is usually used to refer the things that are similar to what I bring as an example but not containing it.

So, I want to 'such as' or 'including', but I am not sure whether I can take just one example after these expressions.

1 Answer 1


Your original statement is:

Microwave energy is an efficient heating tool for the materials possessing dielectric molecules such as water.

In discussion you have clarified that water is a dielectric molecule which you mean to show can be a component of other materials.

Given this, I would say your statement is quite correct, but could be considered ambiguous to some audiences. This is because it is not completely clear if water is an example of the dielectric molecules, or an example of the materials. Likely this would be understood perfectly by the scientific community, but not necessarily to a student or a "layman".

Also, because you use the definite article and say "the materials" it infers you are talking about something specific, such as a limited set of materials that you have previously referred to. If you intend to state that microwave energy is efficient for heating any material that contains water molecules then you should omit "the".

Lastly, although I'm perhaps being picky here, I'm not sure if microwave energy should be referred to as a tool? A microwave oven would certainly be a tool.

With these points in mind I would suggest the clearest statement would be:

Using microwave energy is an efficient method for heating materials that possess dielectric molecules such as water.

  • If I use a comma as you gave me, "..., such as water", isn't the sentence giving a stress on 'water'? If I want to put emphasis on 'materials', is the sentence still fine?
    – Sungil
    Sep 11, 2018 at 8:26
  • 1
    I don't think it puts emphasis on the example at all. If anything, the comma separates the statement from the example. As it is now, I feel there is too much in one breath and that can detract from the main points.
    – Astralbee
    Sep 11, 2018 at 8:44
  • I understand what you said in your comment. And, about what you added after you edited your answer, 'water' is not intended to be an example of 'materials', but of 'dielectric molecules'. In other words, a 'material' can be a piece of bread, and the bread possesses dielectric molecules, i.e., water molecules. For this reason, I used 'the' in front of 'materials' at first, although I am not pretty sure whether the use of 'the' in this situation is correct or not.
    – Sungil
    Sep 11, 2018 at 10:28
  • 1
    @Sungil Thanks for the clarification, I have updated my answer.
    – Astralbee
    Sep 11, 2018 at 11:38

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