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    #1

    Help with comma

    Hi,

    I find commas in English tricky, since there are no clear cut rules.
    I just wrote the following sentence in an email. I find it a bit heavy:
    "The misunderstandings we have had on X formulated in Y style shows me that this approach of studying your ideas were perhaps not the most efficient."
    I tried commas here and there but nothing looks good. Of course the problem might be that the sentence itself is too heavy, so ideas about reformulating it are also welcome. I tried a more direct approach, but I really wanted to be understated in how I said it, so this felt too direct:
    "We have had misunderstandings on X fomulated in Y style. Therefore, this approach, I think, is not an efficient way to study your ideas."


    Thanks
    Dan


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    #2

    Re: Help with comma

    [AmE - not a teacher]

    Sometimes you need to be direct to avoid confusion. I was also going to suggest spliting up the ideas, but you did that in your second draft. I think this approach is good, though I might reword it slightly:

    "We have had misunderstandings on X formulated in Y style. Therefore, I think this approach is not the most efficient way to study your ideas."

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    #3

    Re: Help with comma

    Quote Originally Posted by BobSmith View Post
    [AmE - not a teacher]

    Sometimes you need to be direct to avoid confusion. I was also going to suggest spliting up the ideas, but you did that in your second draft. I think this approach is good, though I might reword it slightly:

    "We have had misunderstandings on X formulated in Y style. Therefore, I think this approach is not the most efficient way to study your ideas."
    Thanks for the corrections! But Bob, as a native speaker, don't you think that saying:
    "The misunderstandings we have had on X formulated in Y style...
    compared to
    "We have had misunderstandings on X formulated in Y style."
    is more subtle. I don't want to "write on the nose" of my recipient that we have had misunderstandings. But just, in a understated kind of way, say that thanks to the misunderstandings we have had, we should change approach. Putting the misunderstandings in a sentence by itself, in my mind, puts an emphasis on our misunderstandings that I want to avoid...


  1. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Help with comma

    Then you can say "There have been some misunderstandings" instead of "We have had misunderstandings."

    It's less clear. Who had them?

    But if that's what you want, then I most definitely suggest the two-sentence structure (with the revision Bob suggested to the second one), and using the more vague "There have been..."
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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    #5

    Re: Help with comma

    Quote Originally Posted by dansynek View Post
    Thanks for the corrections! But Bob, as a native speaker, don't you think that saying:
    "The misunderstandings we have had on X formulated in Y style...
    compared to
    "We have had misunderstandings on X formulated in Y style."
    is more subtle.


    Maybe it depends on your prior history (run-in?s) with the other party, but to me, these are nearly identical.

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    #6

    Re: Help with comma

    Thanks Bob and Barb for an understandable answer and good suggestion! I became a member today and this was a very good start!
    Dan

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    #7

    Re: Help with comma

    A belated welcome to Using English. I didn't notice that it was your first thread.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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