I'm a beginner in English, and I'm writing a academic paper. Could someone please clarify if the use of word patterned function as a good synonym for modeling or simulated in the following sentence?

Aiming to test the reproducibility of the present modeling setup were patterned three realistic spills occurred in the region.

  • Do you mean ....setup where patterned.... or .....when patterned... Even with these changes, the expression is not clear. – Ronald Sole Nov 5 '18 at 15:22
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    Please provide some context - what are you talking/writing about? – user22427 Nov 5 '18 at 15:36
  • modeling set-up is pretty much nonsensical here. – Lambie Nov 5 '18 at 16:44
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    What are you actually trying to say? – Strawberry Nov 5 '18 at 17:32
  • @Lambie IMO it was making sense up to and including the word "setup." After that, it makes some sort of sense if you change the word order to "... setup, three realistic spills occurring in the region were simulated" - but that's just a guess at what the OP was trying to write. – alephzero Nov 5 '18 at 18:43

Firstly, I'd say no, patterned isn't really a good replacement here. Patterned indicates that you're copying something, but it does not indicate what you're doing with the copy. Modelled or simulated would both be better, but you could use either of those words along with patterened.

Second, the sentence structure is rather off. It took me a few read-throughs to understand it. I'd suggest switching it around a bit:

Aiming to test the reproducibility of the present modelling setup, we ran simulations patterned on three spills that had occurred in the region

This indicates that you ran simulations, and that the simulations were copied from - or patterned on - spills that had really occurred.

Other uses of patterned in a similar context could be:

Germany launched a blitzkrieg attack, patterned on their successful strike against Poland.

A new product was designed, patterned on the most successful products of the last ten years.

In each case, patterned indicates that the action taken was being copied from something else, but patterned by itself does not indicate what action is being taken.

  • Patterned does not mean you are copying something. patterned x, is an x with a pattern. Patterned wall paper. – Lambie Nov 5 '18 at 16:14
  • @Lambie yes, that is one use of 'patterned', but it's not the only use - and it derives from the idea of copying. A pattern is something repeated. – Werrf Nov 5 '18 at 16:15
  • This might all be perfectly correct, but it feels like an assumption too far to me. – Strawberry Nov 5 '18 at 17:33
  • present modeling set-ups is a complete no go, afaic. – Lambie Nov 5 '18 at 18:13
  • @Lambie what can't you understand about "present modelling set-ups"? It's a perfectly good phrase meaning the same as "the modelling scenarios that we are considering at this point in time" IMO. – alephzero Nov 5 '18 at 18:46

Aiming to test the reproducibility of the present modeling setup were patterned three realistic spills occurred in the region.


To test the reproducibility of this model's hypothesis, the patterns of three realistic spills that occurred in the region were used.

The tests were patterned on the realistic spills that occurred in the region.

oil spill patterns or [water in rivers] spill patterns or leakage spill patterns

  • I disagree with this. IMO The OP is using "pattern" as a verb, not as a noun, as in en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/pattern #2.1 - "Give something [the modeling set-up] a form based on that of something else [three realistic spills]." – alephzero Nov 5 '18 at 18:53
  • The OP's sentence is gibberish. So,it's all a guessing game anyway. Modeling set-up is not used in formal documents like this. You can set up an experiment. – Lambie Nov 5 '18 at 19:05

To "pattern" something after something else, means to structure it based on the pattern of that thing -- which is to say, its outward form. Both "simulation" and "model" normally involve some kind of pattern reproduction, but do this with more fundamental elements or concepts.

For example, a meteorologist might use mathematical models (known formulas that describe air movement, pressure, precipitation, etc.) to create a hurricane simulation. To test the simulation, the meteorologist might check that it accurately reproduces the patterns of past real-world hurricanes, given the same starting conditions and other controls.

To put it another way: The models are the underlying data and mathematical structures that drive the simulation. The pattern is the output from the simulations. So when you model/simulate something you usually think about all the elements that make it work, but when you pattern something you simply copy its observed behavior.

All are valid scientific techniques, of course. Sometimes patterning is all a researcher can do, until the underlying elements are better understood.

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