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In the web of today, it is very common to use only DIV tags and describe the “semantics” of a particular division using style-sheet classes (CSS files). In this respect, maybe the only semantic attribute within a tag is the class name itself.

vs.

In the web of today, it is very common to use only DIV tags and describe the “semantics” of a particular division using style-sheet classes (CSS files). In this respect, maybe the class name itself is the only semantic attribute within a tag.

Did I use "itself" correctly? Moreover, I still feel don't know the natural order of clauses in English, for example which of the above sentences has more natural order?

As another example, consider this pattern to say the purpose before the action, is it natural?

In our approach, we try to simulate the way a human user finds specific data within a web page. People usually rely on the visual appearance (fonts, colors, text or link density) and semantic cues (titles, highlighted words, the meaning of specific phrases) to build an image of the page content structure. [(1) To detect the boundaries of the segments], they may scan the page top-down or bottom-up by means of text and visual signals [(2)To detect the boundaries of the segments].

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    Both (all four) of your sentences are fine and sound totally natural. I might cut a few words out of your second pair ( ...to detect the boundaries of the segments... ----> ...to detect segment boundaries... ) but the phrase could go on either end of the sentence. – Adam Aug 26 '15 at 16:32
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    In both cases either is fine. Your use of 'itself' is OK as well. I am not sure it needs an answer, really, unless you'd like finer points on grammar or semantics. – Victor Bazarov Aug 26 '15 at 16:32
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As an native English speaker, I would prefer the lower answer to the upper, although both are grammatically correct. The reason is that the passive voice is used in the first example, and the "maybe" is very separate from the object it is modifying, which sounds unnatural.

I would personally say "perhaps" instead of maybe, because it is more formal. Generally it is good to avoid passive voice unless you are purposely trying to sound vague.

I prefer statement (1) to (2), but they are both very clear. You might also consider writing it as

"To detect the boundaries of the segments, they may use text and visual signals as they scan the page top-down or bottom-up."

"In this respect, the class name itself is perhaps the only semantic attribute within a tag."

  • It seems in this context you prefer "the boundaries of segments" to "the segment boundaries" which is suggested by the other user? – Ahmad Aug 26 '15 at 18:56
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    If you want to emphasize the boundaries and the segments as being distinct, say it the way I have labelled it. If you want to be more terse the second option is acceptable and appropriate. – theREALyumdub Aug 26 '15 at 18:58
  • Thank for the hint, I feel this sentence has more emphasis on "boundaries" which is my intention. – Ahmad Aug 26 '15 at 19:01
  • A note: There were 2 reasons I preferred the segment boundaries over the boundaries of the segments. First, brevity. The second is that (at least in the text shown) you haven't yet introduced or named the concept of "segments." I would not use a definite article in front of segment until I had otherwise referenced the same. To hold the emphasis on boundaries that you are after, therefore, I might go with "...to detect the boundaries of segments,...." (You could omit the other the also, but that slightly de-emphasizes boundaries in my ear. To detect boundaries of segments) – Adam Aug 27 '15 at 15:05

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