Cornerstone to

themotherofthemole

New Member
Castilian Spanish
Hi,
I'm revising a computer science paper in English and I'm not sure this phrase is correct:
These features make e-signature the cornerstone to guarantee non-repudiation in electronic commerce

It's the first time I come across this phrase, and it doesn't sound good to me. The author is not a native English speaker, but neither am I so...

Thanx!
 
  • Valvs

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Can you explain what you think the author is trying to say? "Cornerstone" is defined in the Word Reference Dictionary.
    But his question is not about the meaning of the word. Apparently, he's asking if it is alright to say "a cornerstone to something" or "a cornerstone to do something".
     
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    Imber Ranae

    Senior Member
    English - USA
    "The cornerstone to [verb]" sounds really awkward to me. I can't really supply an alternative because I'm not sure what it's trying to say.
     

    themotherofthemole

    New Member
    Castilian Spanish
    But his question is not about the meaning of the word. Apparently, he's asking if it is alright to say "a cornerstone to something" or "a cornerstone to do something".
    That's right, I meant the use of the preposition+verb. I know you can say that "sth is the cornerstone of sth" as in "equal representation is one of the cornerstones of democracy".

    But Imber Ranae has a point too. Even though the grammar was ok, maybe it wouldn't sound right. I think the author means that the features of e-signature provide the basis for guaranteeing non-repudiation in electronic commerce. Do you think this is a good alternative?:confused:
     
    OK, well, I agree with you that "cornerstone of <something>..." is more common and sounds more natural.

    Think about the original, literal meaning of the word. You have the cornerstone of a building, but you do not have the cornerstone to construct a building. At least, such usage is not familiar to me; I'm interested to see what others think.

    Also, I'm undecided on whether "cornerstone to <doing something> works because, technically speaking, you could have the cornerstone to constructing a building.

    I would rewrite the sentence as:

    These features make e-signature the cornerstone of <our new program OR our efforts> to guarantee non-repudiation in electronic commerce.
     
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