Projects in veterinary medicine where the endpoint is animal health or in food science is also not be included in this educational program. (nih.gov)

I have some doubts regarding the sentence above:

  1. Admitting that "is also not be included" is a grammatical construction, why does the writer use "is" rather than "are"—it seems to me that "Projects" is plural?

  2. Apart the considerations on the exactness of the verb agreement cited in "1", why does the writer use "be" in "is also not be included"—maybe nothing is better in place of "be"?

  3. Since I think nih.gov scripts should be not conversational, why does the writer use "also not" in that sentence—maybe a "nor" construction would be better?

Considering 1, 2 and 3 observations together, shouldn't it be a better phrasing the following version:

Nor projects in veterinary medicine, where the endpoint is animal health, or in food science are included in this educational program.

Can anybody explain, also considering the commas I added, if the rephrased version is better than the original? If so, why? If not, why not?


1 Answer 1

  1. You are quite correct: it should read “Projects ... are ...”

  2. Again, you are correct: it should read “are ... not to be included.”

  3. You are however incorrect in thinking that also not is a strictly “conversational” use. Its employment here is perfectly in keeping with the bureaucratic register.

  4. Nor, as you discern, may substitute for also not; but when nor heads an independent clause it requires that the subject and the heading verb be inverted:

    Nor are projects ... to be included ....

    However, it's difficult to construct a graceful Nor... sentence with that particularly gnarly pair of subjects.

    And I suspect that the relative clause where the endpoint is animal health is intended to be restrictive: that is, only projects ... where the endpoint is animal health are to be excluded, but projects ... where the endpoint is not animal health may be included. If this is the case, the commas should not be employed, because they mark the clause as non-restrictive.

I'd modify your rewrite thus:

All projects in food science and those projects in veterinary medicine whose endpoint is animal health are likewise excluded from this educational program.

You must log in to answer this question.