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In the following sentence, is the meaning of the evidence to base policies on the same as the evidence on which policies base?

[...] but what they often lack is the evidence to base policies on.

If it is correct, can I paraphrase the evidence on which policies base with the evidence which policies base on?

In addition, can I use as or any preposition in this position? Could you help me clarify this?

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    Don't say "the below"; say "this".
    – tchrist
    Oct 23 '20 at 2:47
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The sentence

But what they often lack is the evidence to base policies on.

is idiomatic and doesn't need re-phrasing. Though, to be grammatically perfect and perhaps a little old-fashioned, it should be:

But what they often lack is the evidence on which to base policies.

The two phrases

"the evidence on which policies base" 

and

"the evidence which policies base on"

misuse the expression base something on which - as Lexico explains - means Use (something specified) as the foundation or starting point for something.

So evidence may be used as the foundation or starting point for policies. Policies may be based on evidence.

Yes - your use of as is correct.

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  • Thanks for your explain. So I can paraphrase this one as "the evidence on which policies were based", right?
    – Huy-Nguyen
    Oct 23 '20 at 6:50
  • @Huy-Nguyen Not really. If a group of politicians lacked the evidence on which to base their policies they can't have based their policies on that evidence because they didn't have the evidence. If they made policies then they weren't based on the evidence. What you can say is " the evidence on which the policies should have been based' or 'the evidence on which the policies could have been based".
    – BoldBen
    Oct 23 '20 at 7:29
  • Sorry, but after I read your answer, I really don't understand. It makes me a little nervous. The answer of Brixtonian is very clear and I instantly recognize my mistake of misusing the expression. It's probably because I'm not a native speaker and I couldn't understand deeply enough.
    – Huy-Nguyen
    Oct 23 '20 at 8:36
  • "The evidence on which policies were based" is perfect English but it is in the past tense. "They often lacked the evidence on which policies were based" would be correct. But in the present tense: "They often lack the evidence on which to base policies" would be correct. Oct 23 '20 at 14:44
  • Yes, I got it. Thanks again :D
    – Huy-Nguyen
    Oct 26 '20 at 7:18

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