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Thread: Clear and concise,

  1. #1

    Clear and concise,

    Let us imagine someone is introducing themselves, most of us did when we joined.

    “I am now currently working in a job here in New York City where I have been for two years”

    Clear? Well it raises the question of whether they have been in the job, or in the city, for two years? I’ll come back to this.

    Concise? Certainly not, firstly “I am” is first person present, that means now and/or currently, “I am working in a job ...” means exactly the same thing as “I am now currently working in a job...” , with the possible exception of someone whose job it is to introduce themselves, and they wouldn't need "now".

    “Working in a job” is a little more problematical, it is possible to work when not in a job and possible to be in a job and not work, however, for practical purposes one or the other should suffice.

    “Here in New York City” Well if you are working in New York city It is a fair bet you are there when doing so, forget “Here”

    To return to the question of what the two years refers to; put parts together that go together and avoid ambiguity. There are three parts, being in New York, working and the time period of two years so:-

    I am in New York City, and for two years have been working
    Or
    I have been in New York City two years, and work here.

    The two parts that go together are together, and the “, and” separates the other part from them. There are 20 words in the original, 13 in one 14 in the other at the end of editing, and a more precise meaning.

    If you apply these concepts to tasks such as introductions they become part of your way of operating, and save you much editing.

    Thanks to garza whose comment inspired this.
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  2. #2
    this was a very helpful read!

    clarity is underrated when it comes to writing and the habit you speak of IS a great way to cut down on editing time.

    bravo =]

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Olly Buckle View Post
    Let us imagine someone is introducing themselves, most of us did when we joined. …
    Your first sentence really scared me, but I guess I'll deal with the sentence in question …


    Quote Originally Posted by Olly Buckle View Post
    … “I am now currently working in a job here in New York City where I have been for two years.” …
    I'd probably rewrite this to say:

    “I am now working in New York City, where I have been living for two years.”

    or

    “I'm now working in New York City, where I've been living the past two years.”

    … depending on the tone of the piece I'm writing.



  4. #4
    My first draft was full of that kind of thing and I'm still weeding them out.

    If I said: "I worked in London for seven years." Does this say anything about where I am living now?

    It is funny but I never studied language much, I studied computing and we had to do propositional logic where we used sentences to derive their logical meaning.

    In the above example I am not saying anything about where I live now or lived while I worked in London. I may or may not have lived in London.

    Just to take it further: "If I get a job in London I will go and live there." In that sentence I am saying nothing about what happens if I don't get a job in London, but the statement seems to imply that I will only live in London if I get a job there, which is incorrect.

  5. #5
    I'd probably rewrite this to say:

    “I am now working in New York City, where I have been living for two years.”

    or

    “I'm now working in New York City, where I've been living the past two years.”

    … depending on the tone of the piece I'm writing.
    Patskywriter, my point was that the original is ambiguous, from the original phrasing he might have lived in New York all his life but only been in the job two years. Of course in that case there should be a comma between 'living' and 'for', but commas are small things and get missed by both writers and readers, best to be as unambiguous as possible.
    Last edited by Olly Buckle; May 14th, 2013 at 07:49 AM.
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