1

Can we use two active verbs for a sentence? For example in #1:

  1. Special care is taken to extract irregular borders during the modeling.
  2. Special care is taken when extracting irregular borders during the modeling.

Which is correct, 1 or 2?

3

Either sentence is fine. But they mean different things:

Special care is taken to extract irregular borders during the modeling.

This means that you expend extra effort to make sure that irregular borders are in fact extracted and not overlooked.

Special care is taken when extracting irregular borders during the modeling.

This means literally that extra effort is expended on something unspecified during that part of the process when irregular borders are extracted. But if this is an error, it is probably a very minor one; people will assume that you mean:

Special care is taken in extracting irregular borders during the modeling.

That is, the extra effort is expended on extracting the borders.

  • So does that mean if I say "Take care when crossing the road", you'll assume I meant to say "Take care in crossing the road"? I don't see what difference when/in makes in such constructions, or why anyone should need to assume the other. – FumbleFingers Mar 22 '13 at 2:02
  • @FumbleFingers Depends on what you're advising me to take care of :) Such care is not usually directed to the physical act of crossing but to the attendant circumstances. – StoneyB Mar 22 '13 at 2:13
  • I'm not sure the difference between advising someone to take care not to get run over by crossing a road, or take care not to lose the thread of their mobile phone conversation while crossing a road justifies a different preposition. To me, the only meaningful syntactic distinction is if you're advising them to take care to [make sure they do in fact] cross the road. – FumbleFingers Mar 22 '13 at 2:35
  • @FumbleFingers I take care when crossing the road to look both ways. I take care in that looking to check whether there is a car in the intersecting street which may turn across my path. – StoneyB Mar 22 '13 at 2:54
  • The second one just seems to use in that instead of when doing that, which is a slightly different construction to in/when crossing.... I still see no meaningful distinction affecting choice of preposition. – FumbleFingers Mar 22 '13 at 4:15

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