Word order

1. Mr James Parker in his book “Over the Rainbow” suggested that a successful business has the following characteristics.

2.  In his book “Over the Rainbow”, Mr James Parker suggested that a successful business has the following characteristics.

3.  Mr James Parker suggested in his book “Over the Rainbow” that a successful business has the following characteristics.

which one is correct? And which one do you prefer?

It seems to me that 1 and 2 are correct.

Where should “in his book xxx” be positioned and what is the rule governing the positioning of “in his book xxx”?

 

Original Post
terry posted:
It seems to me that 1 and 2 are correct.

Hello, Terry,

All three sentences are correct, but the punctuation of (1) needs improvement. Placing the "in"-phrase right after the subject makes it a parenthetical, and parentheticals are set off by commas or parentheses in writing:

(1a) James Parker, in his book “Over the Rainbow,” suggested that a successful business has the following characteristics.

Sentences (2) and (3) work equally well. The "in"-phrase is an adverbial, and adverbials are mobile: they can be placed in many different positions. Where the "in"-phrase would NOT work in your example is at the end of the sentence:

4. ?? James Parker suggested that a successful business has the following characteristics in his book “Over the Rainbow."

Although (4) is not ungrammatical, it gives readers a miscue. At first sight, (4) appears to be saying that the characteristics, not Parker's suggestion, are in "Over the Rainbow." If you put the reference at the end, make it academic:

5. James Parker suggested that a successful business has the following characteristics ("Over the Rainbow," p. 123).

Lastly, it would be good to change "suggested" to "suggests," because you are talking about an author's view, and authors' views are generally reported in the present tense. Also, italics may be used for the title.

terry posted:

which one is your preference?

Hello again, Terry: In the absence of context, I can't say that I prefer any of them to the others. I might use any one of the sentences I discussed in my last post. Which one I choose will depend on the sentences preceding this sentence and on whether the author or the book has already been mentioned. That said, if we are considering the sentence as an island unto itself, I suppose I have a slight preference for (3).

Terry,

I agree with David, but I'm tempted to take his points a step or two further.

Where David says:

Also, italics may be used for the title.

I would say that italics are greatly preferred over quotation marks when referring to a book title, if your text editor allows that option.  Among other things, this eliminates the question of where to put the comma in relation to the endquote.  (Compare your example (2) to David's (1a).  I'm not expressing a preference here, merely pointing out a somewhat controversial stylistic difference.)

Since all three of your examples point to "the following characteristics", I would expect them to end with a colon rather than a period, followed by a bulleted list of the aforementioned characteristics.

Finally, in addition to David's point that the present form "suggests" is preferable to the past-tense "suggested" here (which I strongly agree with), I would also ask you to consider the subjunctive "have" in place of the indicative "has" in all of your examples.  Another option would be the conditional "should have".

DocV

Doc V posted:
I would say that italics are greatly preferred over quotation marks when referring to a book title, if your text editor allows that option. 

I stand with DocV on this point. In general, style guides and academic punctuation conventions are in agreement that book titles should be italicized. It is only in certain publications, such as The New Yorker (here is a very recent example), that we find book titles, etc., enclosed in quotation marks. But, then, The New Yorker also uses "teen-ager" and "per cent." It goes its own way.

Doc V posted:
Finally, in addition to David's point that the present form "suggests" is preferable to the past-tense "suggested" here (which I strongly agree with), I would also ask you to consider the subjunctive "have" in place of the indicative "has" in all of your examples.  Another option would be the conditional "should have".

This is very interesting. The sentence can actually have two different meanings, depending on whether the indicative ("[it] has") or the subjunctive ("[it] have") is used. I have assumed that the author is proposing that already existing successful businesses have certain characteristics, and for this meaning the indicative ("has") is needed. Compare:

  • He suggests that a successful theory has the following characteristics.

However, if the author means, not to cite characteristics of already existing successful businesses, but instead to propose a new model for the successful business (for what constitutes a successful business) -- perhaps as a new paradigm of business success -- then the subjunctive ("have") is needed. Compare:

  • He suggests that a successful theory have the following characteristics.

I am in complete agreement with David here.  The indicative "has" and the subjunctive "have" both work, and the choice of which to use changes the meaning of the sentence entirely.  I neglected to make that point clear in my previous post.

DocV

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