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  • Generally, patterns are produced in weft knitted structures either in the form of selected colours for face stitches or surface relief patterns based on a choice of different types of stitch.

This sentence has been taken from Knitting Technology by David J Spencer. Which is modified by based on? One may think that without an expert of knitting technology it is not possible to say actually which has been modified by based on. I will request him/her to consider it from the point of grammatical view. In my opinion, based on is modifying both face stitches and relief patterns. It is not modifying only relief patterns. If the writer hoped to indicate only relief patterns, he might write the sentence in the following way:

  • Generally, patterns are produced in weft knitted structures either in the form of selected colours for face stitches or surface relief patterns that is based on a choice of different types of stitch.

But this is wrong. Because we cannot use that is or which is, because relief patterns is in plural form. If we use which are, still now it is ambiguous. Because which are is capable to refer to both face stitches and relief patterns. I don't know how to rewrite the above sentence if I wish to refer only relief patterns or face stitches, and how to rewrite if I want to refer both of them.

If I write the sentence in the following way, based on refers only patterns (patterns are produced...) that is the subject of the above sentence.

  • Generally, patterns are produced in weft knitted structures either in the form of selected colours for face stitches or surface relief patterns, based on a choice of different types of stitch.

OR

  • Generally, patterns are produced in weft knitted structures either in the form of selected colours for face stitches or surface relief patterns, which is based on a choice of different types of stitch.

Please give your valuable opinion.

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    Generally, patterns (insert extra words for context) are based on a choice of different types of stitch. IE: your chosen type of stitch helps determine your pattern. – lurker Dec 23 '15 at 3:06
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I believe in this case, based on refers to surface relief patterns. The sentence talks about different patterns and how they are produced on a textile product. Two possibilities are given, one using colour and the other using texture.

The alternative for colour is clearly given by

selected colours for face stitches

and the alternative for texture is given by

surface relief patterns

which are created using

different types of stitch

One way to make based on in the sentence unambiguous is to fill in the parallel construction of the either..or

Generally, patterns are produced in weft knitted structures either in the form of selected colours for face stitches or in the form of surface relief patterns based on a choice of different types of stitch.

[NB: I'm not a tailor, but possibly face stitches should be facing stitches?]

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This is not an elegant or well-phrased sentence.

But it breaks down like so:

"patterns are produced..."

"either in the form of selected colours for face stitches"

"or [by] surface relief patterns based on a choice of different types of stitch".

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