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The response will either be an evasion (we will come to that later), or it will be . . .

Is the above (or similar) parenthetical redundant?

(I couldn't find a suitable tag for this question, something like principles-of-good-non-fiction-writing.)

  • 1
    What type of non-fiction? We have several specific tags for essays, academic writing, technical writing, scientific writing, journalism, and others; do any of those apply? – Monica Cellio Jul 8 '18 at 4:25
  • Calls forward are often far from redundant, but you have to decide whether they really belong in parentheses. – J.G. Jul 8 '18 at 15:55
2

Yes - everything in the brackets is redundant. If you were to omit '(we will come to that later)' then the sentence would still have the same effect on the reader's mind - that of making a promise that you must fulfil.

This is because the rest of the sentence: 'The response will either be an evasion, or it will be . . .' already alludes to a future event - something that sets up an expectation in the reader's mind that it will dealt with by you further into the script.

As I'm sure you already know: setting up expectations by virtue of writing sentences that refer to something later in the text forms a contract with the reader that should not be broken, because to do so erodes trust between the two parties. Break such a promise and you may well lose your readers.

Good luck with your writing.

1

It is not redundant. You are providing information about the structure of your presentation to come, making a promise to discuss all of the possible classes of "a response". Such promises are recommended, if the alternative to "evasion" is XYZ, then it is easier for people to listen to your XYZ discussion if they know you won't ignore their question of how to deal with "evasion"; whether or not you will get to dealing with "evasion" will not occupy their minds: You said you would.

Whether to use parentheticals is a matter of opinion. In my opinion (a professor and research scientist that writes non-fiction academic articles) parentheticals should be avoided.

The reason for that is they appear to be a narrator with interrupting thoughts they have not bothered to order. It looks unprofessional. In non-fiction, you have plenty of time to order your thoughts, and should not appear to be speaking extemporaneously.

Just break it up into two sentences.

The response will be either an evasion, or XYZ. We will discuss XYZ, and then dealing with evasion.

Or, as Michael said in commentary below, something like

The response will be either an evasion, or XYZ.
\subsection{ Evasion }
...
\subsection{ XYZ }
...

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    Or you could make it two subsections. Immediately following "the response will be either an evasion, or XYZ.", have one section on "evasion" and then, following that, another on XYZ. – a CVn Jul 7 '18 at 12:18
  • @Amadeus Thanks. I agree that parenthetical remarks should be avoided. However, I have minor objection to your proposal: To my ears, your version sounds like parenthetical without parenthesis. Part of my question, perhaps I should have clarified it, was whether such remarks are redundant at all, in parenthesis or not. – blackened Jul 7 '18 at 12:30
  • @MichaelKjörling Agreed; basically the presentation should be thought out; prioritized, and the order of presentation chosen. Me, I tend to order such subsections by the size (in words) of their argument; largest last. Deal with the easiest first (to get the reader accustomed to dealing with a consequence) and the most cognitively difficult or ambiguous sections last. It's science education; basically, we begin with things easy to grasp, progress to the more difficult, and finish up with mind-boggling concepts like Loop Quantum Gravity. – Amadeus Jul 7 '18 at 12:31
  • @blackened They are not redundant; as I opened with. You are providing information about the structure of your presentation to come, making a promise to discuss all of the possible classes of "a response". Such promises are recommended, it is easier for people to listen to your XYZ discussion if they know you won't ignore their "evasion" question; whether or not you will deal with "evasion" will not occupy their mind. – Amadeus Jul 7 '18 at 12:34
  • Hi @blackened. It's great that you found this answer useful, but we typically suggest waiting a day or two before accepting an answer. Questions with accepted answers often get less attention from the community, which could deprive you of an even better answer. You can remove and reassign the accept mark at any time. – a CVn Jul 7 '18 at 19:41

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