Submitted by tracy  •  July 19, 2009

on “condition”

I’m a new editor and am confused about the use of “condition”. If it is used to describe a strict experimental condition, is only “on condition that” can be used, but not “under the conditions of”? A senior editor tells me that the latter can not be used to describe experimental conditions, and if one really wants to use it, he/she should change the prep. into “on”. However, there is no such saying as “on the conditions that” in a dictionary(Longman). Looking forward to correct explanation.

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The short answer is that you should what your editor tells you. The long answer depends on what you are editing. If (as it seems) you are editing a scientific journal, it might be relevant that a quick search of Google Scholar returns 671 000 results for "under the conditions of," but only 73 000 for "on condition that."

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I think we would need a bit more context to give a definitive answer. "Under the conditions of" and "on the conditions that" could each be right in different contexts.

But of course, Paul is right. You need to do what your senior editor says, even if he or she is wrong!

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First, I would like to thank Paul and Nigel, for your patient and convincing explanation.
My puzzle lies in that if the "condition" is a phrase, should I use "on the conditions of " or "under the conditions of" ? Anybody knows?

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If I understand the question, when the condition is a phrase, I'd use "if" or "when" instead. For example, rather than "Under the conditions of high heat, the solution may oxidize rapidly," I'd use "When the temperature is above X degrees, the substance may explode," or "If the temperature exceeds X, then run for your life."

Is that an option?

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