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    • Join Date: Nov 2006
    • Posts: 27

    "Prior to becoming a manager" or "Prior to you becomming a manager"

    Dear teachers,

    Today I was listening to an audiobook -The Dogbert top secret management handbook" and a passage caught my attention. I heard "Prior to becoming a manager, you have to …" Considering the context, I understand this as a reflexive structure. But if I should say the same, I would have said "Prior to you becoming a manager, you have to …" or probably “Prior to becoming yourself a manager, you have to …”, but I think both sounds wierd an not a native English structure.

    Could you help to better understand this structures. I would like to know more about the usage of these reflexive expressions.

    Maybe the origin of my doubt is that my mother tongue is Spanish. In Spanish reflexive structure always requires a suffix to the verb (e.g. verb: “convertir”, reflexive: “convertirse”).

    Best Regards.

    Hector Albino.


  1. #2

    Smile Re: "Prior to becoming a manager" or "Prior to you becomming a manager"

    Hi Albino,

    The sentence taken from your audio book is 100% correct. In English, the verb become doesn't require a reflective pronoun, EXCEPT when being used to emphasize the subject (see the following examples):

    >He himself didn't become a branch manager of this company until 2003.< (Himself here is used to only emphasize the subject "he" - (Note!) not a reflective pronoun.

    Another sample:

    >Megan would never go outside without a jacket in this chilly weather herself .< (Herself here is used to emphasize the subject "Megan" - therefore not a reflective pronoun.)

    Now back to your other question(s):

    "Prior to YOU becoming a manager, ....." is wrong because becoming a manager is a gerund phrase; therefore genitive (YOUR) is needed before it (CORRECT: prior to YOUR becoming a manager, ....). However, people usually don't use a genitive here to just keep the whole sentence simple and tidy.

    "Prior to becoming YOURSELF a manager" does sound a little awkward (BETTER: prior to becoming a manager YOURSELF, ....). Again, a simple and tidy sentence without any whistles and bells sounds so much better (only my personal style), especially in this case.

    Anyway, just my two cents! I'm sure the other teachers will have better suggestions/explanations than mine above. Let's wait and see what they have to say .......
    Last edited by Kurt; 11-Jan-2007 at 14:11.

    • Join Date: Nov 2006
    • Posts: 27

    Re: "Prior to becoming a manager" or "Prior to you becomming a manager"


    Thank you. The explanation is very complete and clear to me. Now I have to put it in practice.

    Again. Thank you very much.

    Hector Albino.


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