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Here is a sentence with two parts, but these two parts have similar meaning:

An upward curve illustrates the positive effect of temperature on evaporation while a downward curve illustrates the negative effect.

I tried to use "vice versa", but this word seems not used in such a condition. Because I find a sample sentence of "vice versa":

I don't know Tom, and vice versa.

How can I make the sentence more clear? I suppose half the sentence can be shortened, ye I don't know how to manage it.

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    You could rewrite like this: An upward or downward curve illustrates the positive or negative effect, respectively, of temperature on evaporation. Apr 27 '19 at 10:06
  • I don't like the example sentence you found. I would never use vice versa in that way. Instead, I would rewrite the sentence: I don't know Tom, nor he me. Or even simply Tom and I don't know each other. Apr 28 '19 at 6:41
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I don't think the sentence needs to be rephrased in the way you suggest. It seems straight forward and simple enough as it is. In fact, trying to drastically reduce the number of words would just make it more difficult to parse.

If it were me, I'd just use ellipsis to remove more of the words (and replace while with and).

An upward curve illustrates the positive effect of temperature on evaporation, and a downward curve the negative.


This is an example of ellipsis because there are two independent clauses joined by a conjunction. Words have been removed in the second independent clause that would not allow it to stand on its own as a complete sentence if it weren't for the context:

❔ A downward curve the negative.

This makes no sense as a sentence on its own.

Here is how it works:

An upward curve illustrates the positive effect of temperature on evaporation.
A downward curve illustrates the negative effect of temperature on evaporation.

→ An upward curve illustrates the positive effect of temperature on evaporation and a downward curve illustrates the negative effect of temperature on evaporation.

→ An upward curve illustrates the positive effect of temperature on evaporation, and a downward curve illustrates the negative effect of temperature on evaporation.

It's because of the first part of the sentence that the missing words in the second part are understood to exist. Removing more words than just those would result in the second part of the sentence either being awkward or not being able to be understood at all.

Note, too, that this is possible because of the parallel nature of the two independent clauses. Since they both have the same construction, we can mentally fill in the missing words in the second independent clause by referring back to what those words were in the first independent clause.

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  • Could you explain a little more about the rule of ellipsis when writing "a downward curve the negative"? I find in this sentence, the subject (a downward curve) and the adjective (negative) is remained. Other words are removed.
    – T X
    Apr 28 '19 at 8:53
  • @TX I have expanded my answer. Apr 28 '19 at 13:43

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