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As a reflection of the importance the Graduate School places on the ability of its students to communicate effectively, the Graduate School requires all new students whose native language is not English to have their English evaluated.

I do understand each of the word in the phrase "as a reflection of the importance", but when they are combined together, I don't. By reading its following context, I suppose it means "the Graduate school think it is important to place on the ability of its students to ..." in the paragraph.

Googling this phrase doesn't give its meaning but can give us some more examples.

In responding to its change the Committee has focus on the basic research in chemistry that, in the long range, is likely to contribute significantly to the solution of energy problems. A great deal of such of research is already supported to some degree by OBES, industry, or other federal agencies. Because of the complexity of assessing this support, we have made no attempt to indicate where and to what extent it occurs. Our listing of research areas is not to be taken as an indication of appreciation of current research support by OBES but only as an reflection of the importance the Committee attaches to such research.

In this example, however, "as a reflection of the importance" seems to mean "to be an account or a description of the importance of..." and its meaning is different from the one in the above paragraph. How should I interpret the phrase "as an reflection of the importance"?

  • Your second passage is ungrammatical—or it's just a typo. It should be a reflection, never an reflection. – Jason Bassford Sep 22 '18 at 7:54
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As a reflection of the importance the Graduate School places on the ability of its students to communicate effectively, the Graduate School requires all new students whose native language is not English to have their English evaluated.

I can see how you would have some trouble with that sentence. I don't think it is very well written. as a reflection of is not particularly well suited as a modifier of the verb requires.

If it had said "has instituted a requirement" then as a reflection of would work better.

Let's reorder the clauses and evaluate:

The Graduate School requires all new students whose native language is not English to have their English evaluated, as a reflection of the importance the Graduate School places on the ability of its students to communicate effectively.

Not really any better. That sentence is even a little more jarring. Let's try another reordering:

The Graduate School requires, as a reflection of the importance the Graduate School places on the ability of its students to communicate effectively, all new students whose native language is not English to have their English evaluated.

A little clearer (if clunky). We could use "it" instead of repeating "Graduate School" and use a that-clause:

The Graduate School requires, as a reflection of the importance it places on the ability of its students to communicate effectively, that all new students whose native language is not English have their English evaluated.

or

As a reflection of the importance it places on the ability of its students to communicate effectively, the Graduate School requires all new students whose native language is not English to have their English evaluated.

Now let's really simplify:

The Graduate School places great importance on the ability of its students to communicate effectively and therefore requires all new students whose native language is not English to have their English evaluated.

  • Thank you Tᴚoɯɐuo, it is much easier to understand the phrase after your explanation. – chika Sep 24 '18 at 3:38

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