I'm not even sure how to shape the problem. Here is the sentence that confuses me:

"Reading sharpens our mind as the truth seekers."

First, yes, the sentence is awkward. Second, "our mind as the truth seekers" needs rewriting, in my opinion, and I even don't know how this type of poor phrasing is called. Is it a violation of the syntax? Or is it okay, and it's enough coffee for me today?

Will it be okay to say, "Reading sharpens our, the truth seekers, mind"?

  • 1
    "*Reading sharpens our mindS as [no "the"] truth seekers." is correct
    – gotube
    Jul 13, 2021 at 3:27

2 Answers 2


Neither of those options is OK. Here is the first:

Reading sharpens our mind as the truth seekers.

The "we" implied by "our" seem to share one mind, which is of course impossible. At the very least, you must write "our minds. The larger problem is that "as truth seekers" is misplaced. It seems to modify "mind"—or "minds" in my suggested revision. I suspect you want it to modify some people, perhaps all of humanity. It can only do they if they are explicitly named in the sentence.

Your revision indicates your awareness of the problem, but does not solve it.

Reading sharpens our, the truth seekers, mind

You still need the plural "minds." And a noun phrase cannot be used in apposition to a possessive adjective. You might squeak by if you make truth seekers possessive with an apostrophe: the truth seekers' minds. But it would still look and sound unnatural. I think I have seen or heard the construction, but rarely. A careful writer would avoid it.

Just to be thorough, I'll add that this will not work either:

As [the] truth seekers, reading sharpens our minds.

It would imply that reading and the truth seekers are the same thing. (I mention it only because my students write this kind of sentence often, not because you mentioned it in any way.)

It might be best to place truth seekers in a separate clause or sentence.


Very little in English is awkward if the proper context exists.

The structure x as y can be used to talk about doing x while assuming the role y.

You have enhanced access logging into the computer as administrator


Reading sharpens our mind as the truth seekers

is a more efficient and compact way of saying:

At the various times that we assume the role of truth seekers, reading sharpens our mind which can help in that role.

Truth seekers definitely needs to be established as a role by the surrounding context as it's probably not a "default" role most people have in the forefront of their minds. If the sentence sounds awkward it may be because that context isn't sufficiently established.

  • 1
    I find "as the truth seekers" very awkward and confusing, because why the truth seekers? That implies some specific truth seekers, whereas the sentence seems to describe us as truth seekers in general.
    – stangdon
    Jul 12, 2021 at 15:41
  • 1
    Lawrence, the OP is asking how to fix her writing, not for concocted scenarios where her acknowledged incorrect sentence might end up being correct.
    – gotube
    Jul 13, 2021 at 3:30
  • We aren't a proofreading service, so we should be showing how things work correctly and the question askers can build skill by utilizing the example?
    – LawrenceC
    Jul 13, 2021 at 14:21

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .