While proofreading I came across a sentence like this:

Assiduous research is what characterises a true professional.

Instinctively I thought that this sentence would sound better if expressed in this way:

Assiduous research is the mark/the sign of a true professional.

Does it read any better, or am I being overcorrect again ?

  • 1
    Both sentences are correct. Which one is better will depend on context. Often they would be equally good. In the abstract I prefer the second because the words are slightly simpler, but it is not my preferences that matter. – Peter Dec 10 '20 at 10:11
  • I am very interested in the preferences of a native, but I do understand that it may be off-topic. However, I am grateful you did share your preference on this context with me! – fev Dec 10 '20 at 10:13

I believe that all three of your examples overstate the value of research. For example in the first case I believe it is more correct to say:

Assiduous research is one characteristic of a true professional.

There are characteristics other than research that are quite important to a professional, especially a true one.

In this case, which of these is better is a matter of taste or style. All three of your examples mean essentially the same thing.

  • You are quite right, I did not think of that. However, in proofreading I have the principle that I must only improve the language without modifying the meaning of the author. But it is a reasonable comment, I will include it as a suggestion! – fev Dec 10 '20 at 10:16

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