Which of the following sentence, do you recommend?

To restrict the places within the page where this context can appear, we can relate it to the contexts we have introduced previously.

To restrict where within the page this context can appear, we can relate it to the contexts we have introduced previously.

Can "where" be used as relativizer and object? Is the second sentence correct?

By the way, I don't like 'places' in the sentence, what is your suggestion?

Page here is a Web page.

  • The verb "relate" is not clear in terms of the user action it refers to. New contexts can be attached to existing ones. Jun 22 '15 at 13:33
  • @TRomano I want to say the new context can be placed inside a previous context, how about "it can be limited to the scope of the contexts we have introduced previously "
    – Ahmad
    Jun 22 '15 at 13:40
  • It depends on your audience. "Limited to the scope of" might not be as clear as "inserted into" or "placed within". Jun 22 '15 at 13:44
  • I myself think scope is better than place
    – Ahmad
    Jun 22 '15 at 13:48
  • Place is a common verb. Scope (here) is a noun, and jargon. As I said, it depends on your audience. Are you your audience? Or do they know less about this subject than you do? Are they end-users? Programmers? Jun 22 '15 at 13:51

Both of your sentences make me uncomfortable.

Fused relative clauses with where (or anything else) do act in nominal roles:

SUBJECT: Where we may put this content is the object of our inquiry.
OBJECT:   I want to know where we may put this content.

But the use of where clauses as the object of prepositions is limited by the fact that where is a 'pro-locative'—it 'stands for' a locative expression. Most locatives are themselves preposition phrases, the PP's canonical function is as a locative, and a PP as object of a preposition is wonky:

I want to know at where I may put it is more naturally expressed as
I want to know where I may put it.

The problem in your examples lies in the use of restrict. Ordinarily we speak of restricting some object to a location; the complement PP is very close to obligatory, unless it is unambiguously recoverable from context. The absence of this complement is not "wrong", but it leaves the reader feeling that something has been overlooked. Moreover, you make the location the object of restrict rather than its secondary complement, which is odd. And in the final analysis you say the same thing twice: saying where something can appear is equivalent to restricting it to a location.

I think what you really mean is something like

To determine where within the page this context can appear ... or
To restrict this context to a specific location within the page ...

I'm also troubled by your recursive use of context: a 'context' located within another 'context' is in that respect no longer a 'context'. I must suppose that use the word context as a term of art, with a very narrow local meaning.

  • Thank you very much, yes the context was the term I introduced for a container in XML or HTML format. I don't mean to restrict the context to a location, I meant to restrict the scope in which the context can appear (in the comments of the question I said 'scope' may be better).
    – Ahmad
    Jun 22 '15 at 17:02
  • For example you can go anywhere in England, now should I say "to restrict you to some cities"? or "to restrict the cities you can go"? or "to restrict the cites where you can appear" or "to restrict (limit) the cities within the England where you can appear" or "to restrict where in England you can appear"!!
    – Ahmad
    Jun 22 '15 at 17:04
  • @Ahmad Generally you restrict X to Y. You may restrict me (or my travel) to certain cities, or You may restrict the [set of] cities I may visit to a certain list. These aren't quite the same thing: the second says nothing about places in the country which I may or may not visit, while the first on its face forbids me to visit all places except the specified cities. Jun 22 '15 at 17:10
  • to restrict X to Y, I thought X and Y should be of the same type. for example cities to a list of cities, but how a man to a location?! I may want to say to restrict the cities you are welcomed in?! Actually, I mean to restrict the scope where the context is valid! (you can say X for context), to restrict the scope where the X is valid, we relate its validity to the scope of Y.
    – Ahmad
    Jun 22 '15 at 17:23
  • @Ahmad Restrict X to Y means "confine X within the boundary defined by Y". Jun 22 '15 at 17:48

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