depend <for success?> on states of mutual knowledge holding between discourse participants <for success?>

Claramunda

New Member
Spanish from Spain
I'd like to know if the word order of the following sentence is correct:

Most referring expressions depend on states of mutual knowledge holding between discourse participants for success

Or you would better write thus:

Most referring expressions depend for success on states of mutual knowledge holding between discourse participants.

Thank you very much, kind regards ;)
 
  • entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    The latter, just because of the lengths of the two phrases. There is a general stylistic principle (and sometimes it affects the grammar) that a very long phrase should occur after a very short one, even if their usual order is the other way round. In this case, either phrase could go first if they were of similar length:

    Referring expressions depend on mutual knowledge for their success.
    Referring expressions depend for their success on mutual knowledge.

    But with the difference in lengths, it feels better to get 'for success' out of the way first.
     

    Claramunda

    New Member
    Spanish from Spain
    The latter, just because of the lengths of the two phrases. There is a general stylistic principle (and sometimes it affects the grammar) that a very long phrase should occur after a very short one, even if their usual order is the other way round. In this case, either phrase could go first if they were of similar length:

    Referring expressions depend on mutual knowledge for their success.
    Referring expressions depend for their success on mutual knowledge.

    But with the difference in lengths, it feels better to get 'for success' out of the way first.
    Thank you for your interesting explanation.:)
     
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