Are the following sentences grammatically correct? If yes, which one does sound more idiomatic?

  • Modularization by design decision likely to change.
  • Modularization by likely to change design decision.

The meaning that I want to convey is the following. In a system, all design decisions can be changed, but it is impossible that they are equally easy to change. So when designing a system, the designer should identify the design decisions that are likely to change and make them easy to change by confining them in single modules. This is a criterion, known as information hiding, for decomposing a system into modules.

1 Answer 1


Based on this comment, my understanding is that the intended meaning is:

We want to organize the software architecture into modules by separating the concerns of various design decisions, all of which are subject to change (so that such changes affect as small a scope as possible).

If that's true, the first option is unclear: "likely to change" could modify either "modularization" or "design decision."

The second option seems to attempt the right meaning, but it really ought to use hyphens: "Modularization by likely-to-change design decision." Which is still pretty unwieldy and unclear.

If it's okay to use full sentences, I would suggest something like: "Modularization aligns with design decisions which are likely to change."

  • Yes that is the intended meaning. Would the sentence ‘Modularization based on design decisions which are likely to change.’ be clear?
    – Géry Ogam
    Oct 17, 2021 at 21:50
  • @Maggyero Yes, that's the best yet! Oct 17, 2021 at 21:51
  • What about ‘Modularization based on likely-to-change design decisions.’?
    – Géry Ogam
    Oct 17, 2021 at 21:51
  • Google hits: "modularization by": 17,000 results; "modularization based on": 13,500 results; "modularization on the basis of": 5,490 results; "modularization according to": 2,070 results; "modularization aligns with": 1 result.
    – Géry Ogam
    Oct 17, 2021 at 21:59

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