EDUCE Overview Copyright 2009 Nikolas S. Boyd.
All rights reserved.

Clause Summary

Intent

Replace an entire clause with an appropriate summary name (noun phrase) derived from a verb.

Motivation

Simplifying complex sentences increases the likelihood that they will be understood by more people. However, sometimes multiple verbs (esp. infinitive verbs) participate in a complex statement. When analyzed, each verb can be separated out into its own predicate. However, splitting a complex sentence into several simpler ones often requires including references between them so that they collectively preserve the meaning of the original statement.

Applicability

Use clause summary when

Considerations

You can give a simple statement a name (as a noun phrase) derived from the verb used in the statement, thereby creating a definition for the name. The general process of creating names in this manner is called nominalization. Consider the following simple example:

employment = employer employs employee
(employs - s + ment = employment)

Once you've derived an appropriate term, you can then substitute it into another sentence in place of the original clause it replaces. Nominalization allows you to tie separated statements together and retain the meaning of the original complex sentence. Consider the following statements, their decomposition, and the results of clause summary:

"The depot management introduced a company regulation that requires the depot manager be able to monitor the depot and to always be able to check if the depot is in a vulnerable state."
a company regulation requires that the depot manager monitor the depot
the depot manager monitors whether the depot is in a vulnerable state
a company regulation requires depot monitoring, where
depot monitoring = a depot manager monitors the depot for vulnerability, where
depot vulnerability = the depot has two (or more) full neighboring storage buildings

Consequences

Note that the last statement in the example above includes a condition description. You will often find these two forms of nominalization very powerful when used together to dissect and decompose complex statements.

Note that clause summary is reversible. The reversibility of nominalizations can play an important part in translating requirements into working code, especially when extracting the detailed meaning from problem descriptions and usage requirements that contain descriptive phrases.