I have the following sentence:

The following research topics will be studied and expected to be finished by the end of Fall 2015

I know I can study a topic, or analysis a topic, but I am not sure I can say I finish a topic.. should I use some other words like completed? Which one is more formal?

Also, does this sentence sound ok?

PS: I want to say:

  1. I will study the following research topics.
  2. I wish/expect to finish the study(obtain result) by the end of Fall 2015

Thank you!

  • No, it doesn't sound OK. The problem is that "study" and "research" are so similar. Do you mean that the topics will be researched? If so, it is the research that will be finished, not the topics. Even if you want to say the "research topics" will be "studied", it is the study[ing] that will be finished, not the topics. However, if those topics equate to sections in a book, it is not uncommon to say "I expect you to finish these sections by (date)." – Brian Hitchcock Aug 21 '15 at 12:00
  • @BrianHitchcock righted... it should be the "study" be "finished"... Do you have some suggestion for me to re-write this sentence? – JumpJump Aug 21 '15 at 12:04
  • I think your sentence does not imply your statement. It is look like a report about a project that you are in the middle of it. I say : "I want to research on topics like X , Y and I will be finished with it by the end of ...." – Cardinal Aug 21 '15 at 12:29
  • @Cardinal I really wish my sentence can start with "the following topics..." I don't want to use "I" as start, it sounds a bit un-formal. – JumpJump Aug 21 '15 at 12:40
  • I think, first you should determine where are you in the research carrier. Have you started ? Have you done anything or just you are interested in some topics. If you say I will, It means you have made the final decision and you already have done somethings. However, if you are only interested in some topics, I think you'd better not to use ... will be PP. – Cardinal Aug 21 '15 at 12:45

It is incorrect in the sense that you cannot "finish" a topic. You can finish research on or study of a topic, but not the topic itself.

In this case it is probably understood that you mean your research on the topic will be finished by the end of Fall, but there are clearer and more correct ways to say it.

The following topics will be studied and research is expected to be finished by the end of Fall 2015.

That sentence makes it clear that the research is the thing that is finishing and keeps all of the original meaning.

Another alternative, if you are the one doing the research, is to make yourself the subject of the sentence:

The following research topics will be studied and I expect to be finished by the end of Fall 2015


If a pedant wanted to be "ultra-picky" they might complain about OP's cited usage on the grounds that syntactically it says the "topics" are expected to be finished - but obviously we know that semantically what will be finished is the study of those topics.

This is normal use of English. If you like, you can assume a "deleted" element, such as...

...and [the study of these topics is] expected to be finished...

...but I'm sure most native speakers wouldn't even register the fact that "something" has been omitted.

  • So you are saying my sentence is fine? – JumpJump Aug 21 '15 at 12:57
  • Yes, I am.Stylistically I think it would be much better to include are between and and expected, because the tense shift from explicit future will be for the study, and implicit "present as future" (without the auxiliary verb even being specified) for the expectation is a bit of a stretch otherwise. But essentially, there's nothing wrong with saying this topic is finished as a shortened version of the study of this topic is complete. – FumbleFingers Aug 21 '15 at 13:07

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.