0

Which sentence is correct, please? Or, do they differ in emphasis?

  1. The remaining frequencies should be preferentially related to rotation or pulsations.
  2. The remaining frequencies should preferentially be related to rotation or pulsations.
4
  • The first would require commas, the second would not.
    – Lambie
    Oct 23, 2022 at 15:50
  • 2
    In the first case, it's not clear if preferentially is modifying "related" or "be" (or the entire sentence). It depends if a relationship can be preferential.
    – Stuart F
    Oct 23, 2022 at 16:05
  • Idiomatically, we're much more likely to place the (optional) adverbial element between the auxiliary (should be) and the "main" verb (related). But that's just idiomatic preference - there's nothing wrong with putting the adverb in various other positions (including before or after the entire utterance). With this specific example, I can't see any scope for different meanings, or even subtly different nuances. Oct 23, 2022 at 16:36
  • I think you mean: preferably, not preferentially.
    – Lambie
    Apr 3, 2023 at 20:39

2 Answers 2

1

Both sentences are acceptable.

Both sentences are a bit awkward. They might be understood differently.

The first sentence will tend to be understood as there should be a preferential relationship, either between frequencies and rotation or frequencies and pulsations.

The second will tend to be understood as that it should be preferred there be a relationship, either between frequencies and rotation or frequencies and pulsations.

But either sentence will be a bit ambiguous in this regard. It is difficult to confidently choose between these two alternatives.

You should rewrite these to make it more clear which you mean.

  • It is preferred that frequencies be related to rotations or pulsations.
  • It should be the case that a preferential relationship exists between frequencies and rotations or pulsations.
3
  • I don't buy the semantic distinction in this specific case, but I'm sure something could be illustrated using a different example of the same basic construction. Oct 23, 2022 at 16:39
  • preferentially = as a (matter of) priority I do not think that your suggested sentences have the same meaning.
    – Anna-Kat
    Oct 24, 2022 at 6:35
  • @Anna-Kat They do not have the same meaning. That is the point.
    – BillOnne
    Oct 28, 2022 at 22:29
0

The remaining frequencies should be preferentially related to rotation or pulsations.

I read: "You should relate the frequencies that remain to rotation or pulsations, instead of relating them to other things, if you can."

The remaining frequencies should preferentially be related to rotation or pulsations.

I read: "It is more desirable that the remaining frequencies are related to rotations or pulsations."

However, there is some ambiguity in meaning here, and the precise intention of "preferentially related" is not clear. So if it is important, it should be clarified.

You might want to consider a general principle of technical writing here: avoid the passive voice when possible. By using active verbs, technical writing will become less ambiguous and more efficient at communicating detailed meaning.

You must log in to answer this question.

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