English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

This was pointed out as ungrammatical in a process document. Its clumsy, but is it ungrammatical? It is the use of immediately unmediated by something like 'after' which is at issue.

share|improve this question

closed as general reference by FumbleFingers, StoneyB, Kristina Lopez, JLG, Andrew Leach Feb 13 '13 at 20:27

This question is too basic; it can be definitively and permanently answered by a single link to a standard internet reference source designed specifically to find that type of information.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

It's not grammatical. If "the last day of that member of staff" is February 13th, when should "this" be done? The intention of the sentence is crucial to correcting it. – Andrew Leach Feb 13 '13 at 16:12
What @Andrew said. It's General Reference. Replace "the last day of that member of staff" with, say, "tomorrow" if it's not obvious as it stands. – FumbleFingers Feb 13 '13 at 16:38

There's a missing preposition before "the last day". By, before, on, after. Something.

Also, there's a semantic (not grammatical) mismatch between specifying a deadline and saying it should be done "immediately".

share|improve this answer

It is not grammatical, in that the noun phrase “the last day of that member of staff” has been tacked onto the sentence after the adverb immediately, in a position where either nothing or a prepositional phrase would be suitable. Perhaps one of the following forms would work, with choice of form depending on what you mean and what you want to emphasize:

• X should be done immediately when the last day of Y begins.
• X should be done when Y's last day begins.
• X should be done during Y's last day.
• During Y's last day, X should be done first.

share|improve this answer
I think the question should be closed anyway, but I don't see why you should assume the missing "temporal relationship" is begins, rather than ends. – FumbleFingers Feb 13 '13 at 16:41
@FumbleFingers, I think using upon or during in place of immediately might give the originally-intended meaning. Absent context, we don't know. Regarding begins vs ends, isn't it perverse to suppose immediately means to do something last? – jwpat7 Feb 13 '13 at 18:13
You miss my point. How can you possibly know the "originally-intended meaning". I speak English too, and I don't know. – FumbleFingers Feb 13 '13 at 18:22
@FumbleFingers, without context, we don't know the originally-intended meaning. However, I suspect that the originally-intended meaning is that meaning conveyed by using upon or during in place of immediately. – jwpat7 Feb 13 '13 at 19:32
I don't know what it means in this context to suspect one interpretation over another. The text is all, as the post-modernists would have it. As Malvolio says, there are at least three valid interpretations of what it might mean, once the missing preposition is added. Without that, it's either ambiguous or simply an invalid utterance, depending on how you look at it. – FumbleFingers Feb 13 '13 at 19:47

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.