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English - look and feel

  1. Jun 6, 2012 #1
    Please help me with these two sentences

    Which one is supposed to be better ?

    1. Why do you want to work in this field ? Because we want to and know how.
    2. Why do you want to work in this field ? Because we want to and we know how.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 6, 2012 #2
    If I were the answerer to such a question, I would probably say "because I have a passion for .... in the field" and that is all, I am not going to expand the clause "we know how" as it seems aggressive in my culture but I will probably say it if I speak with an American. What do you think about my sentences and about me, as well as what I say here.
     
  4. Jun 6, 2012 #3
    Neither is better in and of itself. The latter simply emphasizes that you know how more than the former.
     
  5. Jun 6, 2012 #4
    Thank you, the former to me if written seems confusing at first glance. Could you not look at the second and skim through the first ? Do you have any sort of confusion due to apposition ? I thought it was grammatically incorrect but it is me who is incorrect. My English is still too bad.

    My mind deduces something like this

    Because we want to and know-how (we want to work and we want know-how)
     
  6. Jun 6, 2012 #5
    Both sentences are fine, like Zooby said.

    Pronouns in English, once you've already established who you are talking about, can be used and excluded as much as you want to, so long as the reader knows who you are referring to.

    Since you established, in your response to the question, that you were talking about "we", then you could include or exclude that second "we" and both of them would work perfectly.

    Ultimately, once you have mastered (maybe not mastered, but are comfortable with) a language, you can start to worry about syntax (how your sentences flow... basically how easily read they are, and how they sound to you). In this specific sample, both work, so whichever one flows better would be the better choice (in my opinion, the second one flows better).

    But from a grammatical standpoint, both work fine.

    As far as your grasp on the English language, it appears that you have a good idea of what you are doing. Needless to say, you still appear to have a ways to go if you want to be entirely fluent or proficient in English. Not to bash you in any way (hell, I've only taken 4 years of Spanish so far in my education, and I'm nowhere near the point that you're at in learning a second langauge), but I do remember reading some of your posts in other parts of this forum, and would think to myself "that doesn't really make as much sense as it could", and sometimes it wouldn't be entirely clear as to what you were talking about.

    Keep practicing though, and you'll be fine. Being an active member at an all English forum seems like a great way to improve your English. Maybe going around and reading posts, not as much for the information, but for the way they are written, and practicing writing responses to them to match what you read (even if you don't post them) would be a good way to improve your writing skills in English.




    I'm bored, it's the summer, and I spend a lot of time on the internet (and this forum), so if you ever had another question, feel free to PM me and I would love to help you out with whatever you needed help with.
     
  7. Jun 6, 2012 #6
    Thank you for your advice.
    I learn the language because it is just so useful. I am trying to improve it every day.
     
  8. Jun 6, 2012 #7
    English really is useful to know, and I don't just say that because it is my first language. English is slowly becoming a global language, and is basically ruling the internet.
     
  9. Jun 6, 2012 #8

    lisab

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    I'm assuming this is in reference to a job application, is that right?

    If so, neither one is acceptable, IMO. For one, I don't recommend beginning a sentence with "because". While technically correct, it's too casual to use on a job application. I'd advise something like this:

    "My skills and knowledge make me a good fit for this field. <Add a sentence here that explains why your skills and knowledge are important.> Additionally, I would be proud to know my experience is being used to <cure lepers, or whatever>."
     
  10. Jun 6, 2012 #9
    Because your suggestion sounds more articulate, expansive and enthusiastic, it is better than the original. It isn't better because it avoids sounding informal by not starting with "because". Because, in fact, it's an answer to a "why" question, there is an implied "because" at the start of your alternative that we could replace without making it sound less formal:

    "Why do you want to work in this field?"

    "Because my skills and knowledge make me a good fit for this field. <Add a sentence here that explains why your skills and knowledge are important.> Additionally, because I would be proud to know my experience is being used to <cure lepers, or whatever>."

    By your stated logic the original examples could avoid sounding informal simply by deleting the word "because":

    1. Why do you want to work in this field ? We want to and know how.
    2. Why do you want to work in this field ? We want to and we know how.

    That doesn't work. The problem was not informality, it was that they are sparse and colorless; perfunctory.

    The "because" issue is, apparently, about avoiding sentence fragments, which prohibition became misinterpreted as a prohibition on using the word at the beginning of sentences:
    http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/conjunctions.htm

    I'm pondering that the original examples might be grammatically incorrect because they are technically fragments and not complete sentences. The question is: is a person committing a grammatical error by answering a "why" question with a sentence fragment starting with "because". Absolutely everyone does this and I can't find any rules online covering this situation ("because" specifically in answer to a "why" question). When I insert the implied "because" into your answer it still sounds vastly better than the original OP examples, despite now formally being fragmentary and incorrect, and I can't think of an answer to a "why" question where "because" isn't implied in the answer, rendering any such answer an implied fragment. In this context it never sounds fragmentary. There's no sense of the thought being incomplete.
     
  11. Jun 6, 2012 #10

    lisab

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    Re the bolded text: I don't see where you got that idea from my post. Of course starting a sentence with 'because' can be correct, but even if it's used correctly I think it's too informal for a job application.

    Answering that "Why" question with, "Because my skills and knowledge make me a good fit for this field," is grating, IMO. It's not as strong as "My skills and knowledge make me a good fit for this field."
     
  12. Jun 6, 2012 #11
    Good on ya for it (sorry for the bad grammar ;). Impressive for sure!

    Your choice of words there is perfect, "useful". Culturally it's pretty useless...but from a research / education perspective it's useful for sure!
     
  13. Jun 6, 2012 #12
    Your argument is that using "because" here (at the beginning of a sentence) sounds too casual. If that is true, then the solution is simply to delete the word "because" from his answer:

    Instead of:
    "Why do you want to work in this field ? Because we want to and know how."

    Delete the "casual" word "because" and get:
    "Why do you want to work in this field ? We want to and know how".

    But this doesn't improve things. Being too casual wasn't actually the problem. Your suggested replacement goes way beyond getting rid of the "because", and it is the other embellishments that actually make your suggestion much better (they are enthusiastic, expansive, and articulate by contrast to his parsimonious, guarded responses). I also deliberately started some of my own sentences with "because" to demonstrate this doesn't automatically create a casual or informal tone.


    If it grates it should be because you sense it technically makes the sentence a fragment, which would be the source of it sounding weaker. Using "because" at the beginning of a sentence isn't an issue of casual vs formal speech. The issue is that, in starting the answer to a "why" question with "because" you may in fact be perpetrating an 'illegal' sentence fragment.
     
  14. Jun 6, 2012 #13
    The question is asking why you want to work in this field. Stating that "we want to" without further elaboration doesn't tell the questioner anything more than what he's assuming by your application or request to work in this field. So, imo both 1. and 2. can be improved.

    Something like:

    I want to improve my knowledge of, and capability in, this field.

    It would help to know why you want to answer this question. Are you applying for some sort of paying job? What is it? What's "this field"? What's the extent of your knowledge and capabilities wrt the field. Why are you using "we" instead of "I"?
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2012
  15. Jun 6, 2012 #14

    lisab

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    Re the bolded: I *totally* disagree. Two issues here: the language is too casual; and the sentence should be re-written (which is why I suggested an edited version). I never advised just dropping a word would fix it, and still I have no idea why you think I suggested that.

    Starting a sentence with 'because' is too causal because it sounds like spoken English, IMO. I stand my my advice: don't do it on a job application.
     
  16. Jun 6, 2012 #15

    Evo

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    Agreed, business writing, including resume/CV writing is a bit more polished and formal.
     
  17. Jun 6, 2012 #16
    You didn't suggest that. I am doing it to demonstrate that your complaint about his answer is a misdiagnosis. If we exclusively take care of your complaint, it doesn't improve what's actually wrong with it.

    Beginning a sentence with "because" doesn't automatically create a casual, spoken sounding sentence. I wrote two to demonstrate this:

    Those two sentences start with "because", but don't sound casual.

    Because you are failing to consider the issue of fragmentary sentences, you are misdiagnosing the reason that beginning a sentence with "because" might be undesirable in some cases, as on a job application.
     
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