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Hi,

I am a Copy Editor working on a document. What do you think of this sentence:

"The team will strategize about what we collectively feel are the appropriate markups to submit with this bid, based on the perceived competition, the types of measures proposed, and our understanding of the scope of services the City expects for each task."

Besides being unbearably long (it is technical language for an engineering proposal), I would have moved the "are" after "bid." I thought "what we collectively feel the appropriate markups to submit with this bid" was one phrase that needed to stay together. But my boss thought it was wrong.

Is there a grammatical rule for this situation? Linking verbs shouldn't be at the ends of sentences, but the "are" would be at the end of a phrase in my version. Is the "are" part of a phrase?

Would you say (1) "I thought about what was the appropriate thing to wear, based on the weather" or (2) "I thought about what the appropriate thing to wear was, based on the weather"?

(2) sounds better to me.

If there are links to rules for this situation, I'll take them.
Comments  
Hello Joyous

I'm a learner from Japan and I have pondered upon your question for a while.

As for your last question, probably I would say like : "I thought about what was appropriate to wear, considering the current weather condition". To me, the expression "based on ~" sounds a bit too formal compared with the collocation "think about".

As for your first question, I still cannot get what you want to say by the sentence exactly. Is it saying like: "The team will strategize about the mark-ups that we, as an organization, can consider adequate to put into the bid from the standpoint of perceived competition, etc"?

Anyway, I'm sorry to admit that I'm not a right person to answer your question. Please wait until the time any of our teachers comes to answer.

paco
Hello Joyous. Welcome to English Forums. (You don't sound too joyous at the moment, though.)

The short answer is: grammatically speaking, the 'are' can go at either end.

Because, as you say, the clause, 'what... (are) the appropriate markups to submit with this bid (are)' is so long, I prefer the verb's appearance at the beginning-- then we are (or at least I am) better prepared for and can more easily understand the whole of what is 'felt'.

The 'are', by the way, is indeed a simple linking verb: 'about what... are... markups'. It is not part of a phrase.

Re: #s 1 and 2-- I would perhaps say #2, but remember that we can do things with the voice that cannot be done, the same way, with the written word.
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Mr. Micawber,

Thank you very much for your help. I posted this question in several forums and yours is the most coherent response I have received.

Despite a Master's in English and years of teaching English (language) abroad and literature here, this one threw me. I'm sure I'll be back as this new job is giving me some unique language challenges.

Thanks again!

Joy

Emotion: smile
To Mister Micawber,

What is the grammatical difference(if any) between the following two sentences? Thanks.

a) "The team will strategize about what we collectively feel ARE the appropriate markups to submit with this bid, based on the perceived competition, the types of measures proposed, and our understanding of the scope of services the City expects for each task."

b)"Based on the perceived competition, the types of measures proposed, and our understanding of the scope of services the City expects for each task, the team will strategize about what we collectively feel the appropriate markups to submit with this bid SHOULD BE."
Hello guys

Although it's not my business to criticize sentences written by other English learners, I think the original text is not so good a business writing. First of all, what I cannot get there is the phrase "submit the appropriate markups with the bid". I took this text is saying something about price decision and I interpreted this 'markups' as some amounts of money to be included in the bid (=the price to be offered to the buyer). If my interpretation is right, is it OK to say "submit the appropriate markups with the bid"? Another problem of the text is, as Temico suggested, it is not easy to get what word or phrase is modified by "based on ....". Is it "they will strategize about", or "we feel", or even "appropriate"? If the writer's intention is "based on ..." is to modify "appropriate", I think "appropriate" should be used not as an pre-modifying attributive adjective but either as a predicative adjective or as a post-modifying adjective. If the writer's intention is "based on ..." is to modify "they will strategize about" or "we feel", I feel some dangling in that kind of usage. I mean, "persons are based on something like 'the types of the measures proposed'" sounds odd to me.

paco
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Just FYI

I did not intend for this sentence to be analyzed in such depth; I provided it only to ask my question about the verb. Mr. Micawber answered my question beautifully, which tells me that one did not need to know the full context to understand what I was asking.

The "based on" modifies the entire clause "what we collectively feel are the appropriate mark-ups to submit with this bid.”

Bidding is a process in which companies compete for a job. In this case, two engineering companies are collaborating on a proposal to do work for a city. This sentence comes from a letter from one company to the other, and means that one engineering company will submit its proposed mark-ups on design, construction, subcontracting, training, and so forth, to the other so that they can discuss them. Once the team decides on the mark-ups, they will submit this pricing information with their proposal to the City. No one has bought or paid for anything yet, which is why the mark-ups are being “submitted” instead of “included.”

The people writing these sentences are highly educated native speakers of English. They are, however, engineers, which can make their phrasing sometimes stilted, complex and clunky, so it is my job as the wordsmith to smooth over the sentences and make them flow nicely.

“Not so good a business writing” is not good business writing either.

Joyous
To joyous,

Re: "The team will strategize about what we collectively feel are the appropriate markups to submit with this bid, based on the perceived competition, the types of measures proposed, and our understanding of the scope of services the City expects for each task."

Your above sentence can be re-written as:-

a) "Based on the perceived competition, the types of measures proposed, and our understanding of the scope of services the City expects for each task, the team will strategize about what we collectively feel ARE the appropriate markups to submit with this bid."

As per your suggestion, the verb "are" can be moved to be after "bid". In that case, your re-written sentence would read:-

b) "Based on the perceived competition, the types of measures proposed, and our understanding of the scope of services the City expects for each task, the team will strategize about what we collectively feel the appropriate markups to submit with this bid ARE."

I have a feeling that sentence "b" is GRAMMATICALLY INCORRECT. Perhaps, you would be kind enough to explain where I went astray. Thanks.
As I have one and half decades' experience of working as an engineer for a maker of sewage treatment plants, I know something about what bidding is like. In Japanese bidding customs for construction of public facilities, markups are usually given as parts of the total bidding price, not excluded from it.

As for the phrase "we collectively feel", I take it as a simple inserted phrase. So I thought the interpretation that "on based" modifies "we collectively feel" was least likely.

paco
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