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This is the correct version on the text.

Method A has shown to provide a significant performance gain for method B in a general dataset. However there is a possibility that method A could decrease the efficiency of method B in some scenarios.

Is the following sentence grammatically correct?

Method A has shown to provide significant performance gain for method B in a general dataset, however there is a possibility that method A could decrease the efficiency of method B in some scenarios.

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  • 1
    So what is your concern? Comma or an article? – bytebuster Feb 17 '13 at 3:27
  • the concern is, is this grammatically correct? – william007 Feb 17 '13 at 3:39
  • I have changed the final word from is to in. I hope this is what you intended. – Barrie England Feb 17 '13 at 9:00
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No, it's not grammatically correct. To be grammatically correct, it has to be this:

Method A has {been shown / proved / proven [CHOOSE ONE]} to provide a significant performance gain for method B in a general data set; however, there is a possibility that method A will decrease the efficiency of method B in some scenarios.

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  • Why it is "a" significant performance gain, since performance gain is not something that is countable? – william007 Feb 17 '13 at 4:51
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    @william007: "There were performance gains throughout the system" is perfectly grammatical & semantically sound. The head noun of the phrase "performance gain" is a count noun: gain. That makes "performance" a nominal adjective that modifies "gain". When the system is modified, there are gains & losses. I found a few instances of the phrase doing a Google search: "the performance gains for RAIDed SSDs is marginal", "the performance gains are generally impressive", & "see if the RAID 0 offers any performance gains or pitfalls compared to". Plural nouns are count nouns. – user264 Feb 17 '13 at 5:35
  • Technical writers often write the way they speak. In the biomed field, doctors & biologists do too. That means that they write jargon & abbreviate the English. Just because it's published doesn't mean it's good or even correct English, just that it's standard & understandable jargon, even if it's ungrammatical. – user264 Feb 17 '13 at 5:39
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The first problem with the second version is the intransitive use of show. This may occur, and it may be possible to argue its grammaticality, but it is not, I suspect, widespread. Many readers will expect has been shown, and there is no reason to disappoint them.

The second problem is the use of however as a coordinator. This is becoming more frequent, but it is not yet universally accepted. It would therefore be advisable to change it for but or to use it to start a new sentence or to put a semi-colon rather than a comma after dataset, as in the first version.

Thirdly, the absence of the indefinite article before significant performance gain is a little unusual, but not necessarily ungrammatical. When used to make a generic reference the zero article (that is, no article) is normally used with plural and uncountable nouns. Gain is generally a countable noun, but I can just about see it as uncountable in your sentence. However, the absence of a, like the intransitive use of show, might stop some readers in their tracks, so on pragmatic, if no other, grounds, it might be as well to use it.

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