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Although I'm pretty confident in my English, I'm not a native English speaker. I need to write a short introduction for a symposium; I'd like to know if you think this paragraph feels like 'natural' English:

The following paper showcases the various ways through which modern information technologies can be used to spread environmental awareness and teach the general public about the importance of conservationism, as well as present one of the many ways new technologies aid envoronmentalists in gaining a better understanding of the natural world.

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Wow, I love symposia! Can I ask, you say in the first part of the sentence the various ways and then later in the second part, one of the many ways. Do you really intend that breakdown of ways? Could you say in the second part, as well as present the ways new technologies...? –  Sam Apr 27 '11 at 20:43
    
You don't talk like while waiting for the bus, but the sentence length is totally appropriate for academic announcements of this type. Sounds -very- natural (in this context). –  Mitch Apr 27 '11 at 21:57
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It sounds natural enough, but not totally clear...the "present one of the many ways" phrase - does it match up with "The following paper"? If so, it's grammatically incorrect (should be presentS). If not, I'm not sure what it connects to... –  Kate Sherwood Apr 28 '11 at 1:27
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6 Answers 6

In my opinion

The following paper showcases the various ways through which modern information technologies can be used to spread environmental awareness and teach the general public about the importance of conservationism, as well as present one of the many ways new technologies aid environmentalists in gaining a better understanding of the natural world.

should be

This paper shows ways modern information technology helps spread awareness of the environment and the importance of conservation to the public, along with one way environmentalists use technology to better understand the natural world.

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I heartily second @Cos Callis's suggestions. But I am more heartless than he, more savage; I would cut further. He suggests:

The following paper showcases the ways through which modern information technology spreads awareness to the general public of the importance of conservationism. This technology is but one of the many ways environmentalists gain a better understanding of the natural world.

To take just the first sentence:

This The following paper shows cases the ways through which how modern information technology helps spreads awareness to the general the public of learn the importance of conservationism.

Gives us;

This paper shows how information technology helps the public learn the importance of conservation.

But that's not good: "helps the public learn?" Ewwww! So:

This paper shows how information technology helps teach the importance of conservation.

And now for the second sentence:

This t Technology is but one of the many ways environmentalists gain a better understanding of the natural world. we learn about the world.

Technology is but one way we learn about the world.

And that's enough blood and Gore for today :-)

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For being a 'savage' your knife cuts fine. I like your improvements, to my edits. –  Cos Callis May 4 '11 at 18:36
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It's (almost) grammatically correct, but it doesn't seem "natural" to me at all. It seems artificially passive and impersonal. Who uses the technologies to spread awareness and teach the public? The only two actors in the sentence are "this paper" and "new technologies." Where are the people?

That said, scholarly publications often seem to prefer a passive, impersonal style, which lends an appearance of objectivity. I think that style is slowly becoming less common, even in scholarly writing, but it may be exactly appropriate for this symposium.

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It sounds natural, it is good grammar. It is fine the way it is....but...(you knew that was coming) I am a big fan of "short and to the point", with that preface here is how I would rework it. Feel free to take all, none or any bit of my opinion.

Depending on your meaning the sentence fragment:

...modern information technologies can...

might be better phrased:

modern information technology can

  • Information Technology is a singular field of study or occupation.
  • Information technologies are an ever changing collection of knowledge, opinions and paradigms.

it continues:

spread environmental awareness and teach the general public about the importance of conservationism

  1. spread environmental awareness
  2. teach the general public about the importance of conservationism

What is the difference? (what do you mean it to be?)

maybe (IMHO) spread awareness to general public of the importance of conservationism. would be more concise? (also, break on the period...start a new sentence.)

,as well as

This is good sign that you have a run on. After the period try

This technology (or these technologies) are but one of the many ways environmentalists gain a better understanding of the natural world. (note: when you say "as well as present one of the many ways new technologies" "one" does not agree with the plural "technologies".)

The following paper showcases the ways through which modern information technology spreads awareness to the general public of the importance of conservationism. This technology is but one of the many ways environmentalists gain a better understanding of the natural world.

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Thank you for the advice. | In the paper I'm not talking about the field, but about particular technologies; in this case however I think it's okay if I use the singular. | You're right, there's not much of a difference. I adopted the change you suggested. | Are you sure "one" conflicts with "technologies"? I meant one of the many ways; "one" is a "way", not a "technologies". :) –  Paul Apr 27 '11 at 23:50
    
in re: "one of the many ways" I think I was confusing the original with my rewrite by then, you are correct. –  Cos Callis Apr 28 '11 at 0:33
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It feels like natural academic English to me. The verb "present" should agree in number with the subject ("paper"). I would also put a more definitive break after conservationism, either a semicolon or a period and a new sentence:

The following paper showcases the various ways through which modern information technologies can be used to spread environmental awareness and teach the general public about the importance of conservationism; it also presents one of the many ways new technologies aid envoronmentalists in gaining a better understanding of the natural world.

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@JeffSahol: beat me to it by seconds... –  PSU Apr 27 '11 at 20:40
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Yes, it feels like natural English to me (native English speaker). If I may suggest a change, it would be to break it into more sentences.

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