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Hello everybody,

I've just come across the following sentence:

[Species name], on the other hand, was evaluated as a primary plant feeder ([Author], [Year]).

As such, the sentence seems alright - until one realizes that the intended meaning of 'evaluated' here is, in fact, 'described' or 'classified'. I suspect 'evaluated' cannot be used in this way. My understanding, up to now, at least, has been that 'evaluate' is similar to 'analyze' or 'examine', 'to think carefully about something before making a judgment' (Macmillan Dictionary Online), so the resulting meaning would be different, perhaps something like 'was analyzed in the role of a primary plant feeder' (in order to find out how well it performs in that function).

Is my suspicion right, that is, would 'described' or 'classified' (or 'qualified', or maybe 'determined to be') be the right replacements? Or is it just a special kind of jargon I'm unfamiliar with?

I also suspect the author may have only wanted to add some notion of 'expertness' to the process of description, classification or determination, but the whole article abounds in expert biological terminology anyway, so I find that to be somewhat redundant and pointless.

Many thanks for your comments!

P.
Comments  
petusek. I suspect 'evaluated' cannot be used in this way.
Yes,. it can.
petusekIs my suspicion right, that is, would 'described' or 'classified' (or 'qualified', or maybe 'determined to be') be the right replacements?
Those might be better, but the greater context could still favour 'evaluate'—if some sort of evaluation process had taken place.
petusekOr is it just a special kind of jargon I'm unfamiliar with?
Not really, but as I say, the greater context will reveal its appropriateness.
petusekI also suspect the author may have only wanted to add some notion of 'expertness' to the process of description, classification or determination,
That may be true.
petuseko I find that to be somewhat redundant and pointless.
That is probably only your personal assessment.
Thanks a lot, again. Sometimes my suspicions appear to be misplaced.

Anyway, to add a little more context, here is another example from the same text:

[Species X] and [Species Y] were regarded as primary predators [...], but [Species Z] was evaluated [...] as a plant feeder, while [...] suggested [Species X-Z] as periphyton feeders.

It seems obvious the author uses evaluated merely to avoid repetition of words like regarded or considered or described. Out of the almost 10 thousand words used in the article, evaluated occurs only twice in this meaning. The two other occurrences are used in the sense of examined or studied. Hence, I don't think the author really wanted to stress the expertness. Nonetheless, if evaluated can mean classified or described, as you say, I don't need to worry about it anymore. After all, its meaning is clear from the wider context anyway.

Thank you very much for the patient reply, once more. You've been really helpful! Emotion: smile

P.
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petusekIt seems obvious the author uses evaluated merely to avoid repetition of words like regarded or considered or described.
Probably, though it could have been done better just by omitting the words. 'Suggested' is a glaringly wrong choice.
petusek[Species name], on the other hand, was evaluated as a primary plant feeder
"evaluate" would not be out of place in a reference to the methods of mathematical taxonomy.

CJ
True. I'd probably change the original sentence in the following way (preserving at least some of the original structure):

[Species X] and [Species Y] were regarded as primary predators by [Author A], but [Species Z] as a plant feeder by [Author B], while [Author C] described [Species X-Z] as periphyton feeders.

The following would probably be too radical (corrupting the structure of the sentence):

[Species X] and [Species Y] were regarded as primary predators by [Author A], but [Species Z] as a plant feeder by [Author B], while [Species X-Z] as periphyton feeders by [Author C].

Perhaps, I could change [Species X-Z] to all of them in both sentences.

Thank you for your advice!
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I see. Thank you, CJ!

We'd probably agree, however, that this isn't the case. I'm no biologist, but whether a particular species is a primary plant feeder or a carnivore or what, seems to be a matter of observation (in this case of the species' primary food sources) rather than of taxonomy sensu strictu.

P.
petusekThe following would probably be too radical (corrupting the structure of the sentence):[Species X] and [Species Y] were regarded as primary predators by [Author A], but [Species Z] as a plant feeder by [Author B], while [Species X-Z] as periphyton feeders by [Author C].
Not at all; that is the gist of what I would do.
Excellent! Then I'll do just that. Many thanks! You see, my native language, being replete with nominal inflection, is pro-drop, which always makes me cautious whenever I have to decide whether to elide anything in English sentences. 'Is it going to be clear enough even without all those endings we have?' is a question I tend to ask myself even in fairly logical cases like this. Anyway, thanks again! P.
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