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Paper titles and prepositions

in of preposition

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4 replies to this topic

#1 hobglobin

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Posted 15 December 2016 - 04:17 AM

Hi,

 

I've some difficulties concerning the use of "in" and "of" in English paper titles.

Some examples of published papers (excluding on, for, by, with):

 

"Comparison of fluorescence-based quantitation with UV absorbance measurements"

or

"Effect of host defense chemicals on clonal distribution and performance of different genotypes of the cereal aphid Sitobion avenae"

 

 

The above titles I would write in the same manner, but in some titles, it seems, as if "of" is replaced by "in" (not in geographical context):

 

 

"Electrophoresis as a tool for estimating levels of hymenopterous parasitism in field populations of the cereal aphid"

or

"Microsatellite loci in the stable fly, Stomoxys niger niger (Diptera: Muscidae) on La Reunion Island"

or

"Population structure in African Drosophila melanogaster revealed by microsatellite analysis"

 

Therefore can I replace "of" with "in", or are there any rules or style conventions, I might have missed?

Thanks for any advice or hints.



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#2 bob1

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Posted 15 December 2016 - 07:11 AM

"In" is usually used for singular noun, "of" for the plural noun. However, note the "usually", there are no hard and fast rules here!

 

So to use one of your examples:

 

"Electrophoresis as a tool for estimating levels of hymenopterous parasitism in field populations of the cereal aphid"

 

The first "of" is correct, as this is in the plural form (levels is plural), however the "in" could, and probably should, be replaced by "of" as populations is a plural. The second "of" should be an "in" as "aphid" is singular. Having said all that, the sentence is not ungrammatical as it stands, and to the reader not ambiguous either. Additionally, to muddy the waters even further - some of the terms are implied plural, for instance you would probably understand that they aren't just looking at a single cereal aphid, or even a single population of said aphid, so the plural form would equally apply.

 

For the Microsatellite paper - I would have used "of", as "in" implies that the locus is singular, when it is clearly the plural form "loci", and a presumed populations.  To look at it another way, if you consider the sentence "microsatellite loci within the stable fly"- this statement implies a physical localization within the fly itself, and is perhaps the sense that the original sentence intended in a contracted form of "in"

 

English is hard y'all...



#3 hobglobin

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Posted 15 December 2016 - 07:26 AM

Thanks a lot.....now I've sufficient guidance and don't have to think too much about it.

And yes English is more complicated as one would think; first I thought it might depend on the numbers of "of" and too many might be considered as bad wording....wink.png



A single lie is reproachable; a million lies is a statistic.
D. J. T.


#4 mdfenko

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Posted 16 December 2016 - 05:14 AM

 

first I thought it might depend on the numbers of "of" and too many might be considered as bad wording....wink.png

that is a reason much of the time.


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genius does what it must
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#5 bob1

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Posted 16 December 2016 - 06:42 AM

Definitely, too many of any word makes a sentence difficult to read as the eye tends to halt on those words.






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