Is the following sentence acceptable in formal, academic writing?

... relatively higher UI benefits in a particular province encourage in-migration to and inhibit out-migration from that province.

While the sentence seems idiomatic to me, I am not sure if such a case of ellipsis is considered acceptable in a formal setting.

This sentence is different from other simple examples of ellipsis. For example, the omission of regions in "... reduced geographic mobility from low productivity to high productivity regions" is completely fine in formal writing.

In my original sentence, I omitted the first "that province", which left a hanging "to" there. I think the problem arises because the elements in the two predicates are different - encourage in-migration and inhibit out-migration.

I have seen constructions that use a parenthesis in such cases:

... relatively higher UI benefits in a particular province encourage in-migration to (and inhibit out-migration from) that province.

I don't know if that solves the problem or not. It does make it look better than " ... to and inhibit ...".

I am not asking for help in rephrasing the sentence. I can do that. I am interested in knowing if it is grammatical (if not, why?), and if it is acceptable in academic writing.

1 Answer 1


Why use "in-migration" and "out-migration" in place of the common words, "immigration" and "emigration"?

Apart from that, you could avoid the prepositions entirely:

"Relatively higher UI benefits in a particular province encourage immigration and inhibit emigration."

I think the reference to that particular province is clear.

  • Hello, Immigration and emigration are the wrong words for my purpose. Cambridge says "emigration" is "the process of leaving a country permanently and going to live in another one". Collins says "If you emigrate, you leave your own country to live in another country." These words don't fit my meaning. Workers can relocate between different provinces, between different regions within a particular province, or between different center metropolitan areas. And such relocation can be temporary. In this case, the technical term that is used is "in-" and "out-migration". (cont.)
    – AIQ
    Commented Apr 15, 2020 at 20:30
  • Of the 23 papers I reviewed on this subject, all have used "in-" and "out-". And I appreciate your answer, thanks. However, I don't particularly want to avoid the prepositions. I want to know if this case of ellipsis is grammatical, and if it is, then is the sentence appropriate for academic writing.
    – AIQ
    Commented Apr 15, 2020 at 20:34
  • I understand now. Commented Apr 15, 2020 at 21:09
  • I wasn't familiar with that jargon. I think your original sentence is completely understandable and, as you said, idiomatic. Beyond that, I don't know. Commented Apr 15, 2020 at 21:23
  • @AIQ, maybe you could get a more authoritative answer on "English Language and Usage" than on ELL. Commented Apr 15, 2020 at 22:13

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