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    #1

    Help with a understanding a sentence

    I wrote a sentence that looks more or less like this:

    His thoughts about the problem had their beginning in his finding his colleagues' assumptions questionable.

    And was told that it was not clear. What do you find wrong in it, and how do you understand what it says? I am trying to find out whether it can be read as saying something different from what it was meant to say.

  1. bhaisahab's Avatar
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      • Retired English Teacher
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    #2

    Re: Help with a understanding a sentence

    Quote Originally Posted by okok View Post
    I wrote a sentence that looks more or less like this:

    His thoughts about the problem had their beginning in his finding his colleagues' assumptions questionable.

    And was told that it was not clear. What do you find wrong in it, and how do you understand what it says? I am trying to find out whether it can be read as saying something different from what it was meant to say.
    It means that he started to think about the problem when he discovered that his colleagues had made questionable assumptions. I don't know if that is the meaning you intended, in any case I agree with whoever said that it isn't clear. Maybe it works in Mentalese (your native language apparently).

  2. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Help with a understanding a sentence

    Quote Originally Posted by okok View Post
    I wrote a sentence that looks more or less like this:

    His thoughts about the problem had their beginning in his finding his colleagues' assumptions questionable.

    And was told that it was not clear. What do you find wrong in it, and how do you understand what it says? I am trying to find out whether it can be read as saying something different from what it was meant to say.
    As Bhaisahab said, it's not clear. That's not because it could be read as having a different meaning, but simply because it's not a clear sentence.

    His thoughts about the problem began when he found his colleagues' assumptions questionable.

    That's the best I can do. I'm really not sure about "His thoughts about the problem..." Without knowing the context, I don't know if it would be clear what the problem actually is.

    • Member Info
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    #4

    Re: Help with a understanding a sentence

    Thank you all. You all seem to understand the sentence as I wanted it to be understood, yet you agree that it is unclear.

    I'd be grateful if you could try to pin-point what is not clear about it and how this lack of clarity can be fixed.

    Although I use English a lot, I am not a native English speaker and my language instincts are sometimes not the same as those of native speakers.

  3. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Help with a understanding a sentence

    Perhaps I should clarify. Maybe I shouldn't have said unclear. I just think it's overly wordy.

    There's not really any reason to use "had their beginnings" when you can say "began", or for "in his finding" instead of "when he found".

    I had to read the sentence two or three times before I was relatively sure what was meant.

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