phrase order

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westwind

Senior Member
Chinese
1.Located in the northwestern part of Hunan province, Zhangjiajie is one of the tourist attractions both at home and abroad, with an area of 9563 square kilometers and a population of more than 1 million people.
2.With an area of 9563 square kilometers and a population of more than 1million, Zhangjiajie, located in northwestern Hunan, is a world famous attraction.

Hello, everyone!
I am writting something about Zhangjiajie(an sscenic area in China) and the above sentences are from my writting.The first is the original construction, but I thought the "with" phrase might be wrongly placed, because I read somewhere that the most important idea should appears at the end of a sentence. So I Changed the sentence pattern to put emphasis on the idea"Zhangjiajie is a world famous attraction." Hence the sencond, with which I am still not satisfied. I think the rivised sentence is still bit of clumsy and unnatural. Maybe it is not a good idea to put too much ideas in one sentence.Can anyone tell me if the second sounds better? And should I just split it into two sentences?
Any help would be very appriacated.
 
  • entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    Both sentences are correct, but I think (1) is a little better. There is a principle that new ideas go towards the end, and the main idea goes towards the end: these apply to comparatively short sentences, but if the sentences get too long, other considerations also apply. Let's take a shorter sentence:

    Located in the north-western part of Hunan province, Zhangjiajie is one of the main tourist attractions of China.

    Here the underlined part is the main idea you want to say - it's in the 'foreground', and the location phrase is 'background' to it. But remember the subject and verb of the sentence are 'Zhangjiajie is'. These are essential - we can't understand the structure of the sentence until we get these. We can keep the words 'located in . . .' in the back of our minds for a while, but not too long. Here is a longer sentence that goes wrong:

    Located in the north-western part of Hunan province, and with a population of more than one million people, Zhangjiajie is one of the main tourist attractions of China.

    That's about twenty words now before we get to the main verb 'is'. That's too much to keep in the background, waiting for the main point 'one of the main tourist attractions in China' to arrive. So you have to balance ideas. Put some less important parts at the beginning, but not too much. That's why I think your (1) is more balanced than (2), and easier to understand. In this balanced form, it's okay as one long sentence.
     

    westwind

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Can I say "Zhangjiajie, located in the north-western part of Hunan province, is one of the main tourist attractions of China? OR should I say" Located in the north-western part of Hunan province, Zhangjiajie, located in the north-western part of Hunan province is one of the main tourist attractions of China? And which is better?
    Thanks again.
     

    rhitagawr

    Senior Member
    British English
    Can I say "Zhangjiajie, located in the north-western part of Hunan province, is one of the main tourist attractions of China? OR should I say" Located in the north-western part of Hunan province, Zhangjiajie, located in the north-western part of Hunan province is one of the main tourist attractions of China? And which is better?
    Thanks again.
    You've got two located's in your second sentence. If you're asking which is better: Zhangjiajie, located or Located..., Zhangjiajie I'd say there's no important difference between them. However, if you were to put a gun to my head, I'd choose the second one for stylistic reasons, although my preference would be very slight.

    Going back to your orginal sentences, one of the tourist attractions both at home and abroad makes it sound as though Zhangjiajie is inside and outside China. You could say something like attracts Chinese and foreign tourists. Even ignoring that, I have slight preference for your second sentence. But this is only for stylistic reasons: your first sentence peters out a little bit and your second one is more succinct. I don't think you've tried to put too much information into one sentence.
     
    Last edited:

    westwind

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Thank you, rhitagawr.
    As for my second sentence, can I assume there's a rule: the subject should not be flanked by two phrases which convey less important ideas?
     

    rhitagawr

    Senior Member
    British English
    Thank you, rhitagawr.
    As for my second sentence, can I assume there's a rule: the subject should not be flanked by two phrases which convey less important ideas?
    Both (1) and (2) are grammatically correct. I was commenting on your style. I don't know that there are any 'rules' for style. It's just a question of recognising which sentences sound better. This means developing a feel for the language, which is what you are doing. In (2) you've flanked the subject with two less important (although still important) ideas, but your sentence is fine in my opinion.

    As entangledbank says, important ideas tend to go to the end of a sentence. I'd also suggest that this is particularly true in the written language. You'd probably say He moved to London because he couldn't find work in Darlington. But Because he was unable to find work in Darlington, he moved to London would be a more elegant literary style. Both sentences are grammatically correct, however.
    In (1) your main point comes in the middle of the sentence. The new idea of with an area... then comes at the end so that the sentence peters out a bit. In (2) your main idea comes at the end.
    With respect to entangledbank, his/her longer sentence in posting 2 is perfectly acceptable - to me at least. It captures our interest with some important information and the main idea comes at the end. I don't think the preamble is too long.
    I suppose people aren't going to agree all the time on points of grammar, so they're not going to agree all the time on points of style either.
     
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