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English is not my native language, but I'm a willing pupil and in most cases I'm pretty confident in my knowledge, but sometimes I hesitate to use particular words. I wrote this tweet recently:

I amused. Person who cannot cope with "Cannot modify header information" error should not establish himself a web-developer.

I'm not sure if I made the sentence clear. Shouldn't I have used "establish as web-developer," or should I have not used the word "establish"?

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You mean to say that someone like that should not "pose" as a web-developer? –  0xC0000022L May 23 '11 at 1:17
Exactly. Yes... Or shouldn't call himself a "web-developer" –  Nemoden May 23 '11 at 1:18
@Nemoden: well, I'm not a native speaker but it sounds a bit strange to me. However, I'll leave that for native speakers to answer ;) –  0xC0000022L May 23 '11 at 1:22
It sounds strange to me either. That's why I've asked for help here :) –  Nemoden May 23 '11 at 1:25
I think what the OP means is "start a business as a". –  Alain Pannetier Φ May 23 '11 at 1:28
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3 Answers

up vote 6 down vote accepted

I amused. Person who can not cope with "Cannot modify header information" error should not establish himself a web-developer.

"I am amused. A person who can not cope with a 'cannot modify header information' error should not claim to be a web developer."

That would be a rough fix. An elegant solution would be:

"It's amusing that a person who can't handle a 'cannot modify header information' error claims to be a web developer."

But, in a larger sense, this kind of IT-level sniping is unhappy. If a colleague is having trouble, do not snipe - lend a helping hand.

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Claim - this word is totally dropped out from my head and it fits perfectly... I mean this is exactly what I implied. So, can you tell is "establish" any good here anyway? –  Nemoden May 23 '11 at 2:03
I would lend a helping hand only if this person would even try to google just a little bit. It's a really most common problem and the solution is described literary on thousandths of resources. I don't know... maybe I'm such a bad person... –  Nemoden May 23 '11 at 2:05
+1 for elegant rephrasing and wise counsel. But I'd rather call it undesirable than unhappy. –  FumbleFingers May 23 '11 at 2:16
@FumbleFingers: The term "unhappy" has a particular meaning in formal linguistics. –  The Raven May 23 '11 at 2:41
@The Raven: That's as may be, but I think there's very little chance OP (or indeed most people reading this) will be aware of that. We're not on ling.SE yet. –  FumbleFingers May 23 '11 at 11:44
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I'm amused. A person who can't cope with a "Cannot modify header information" error has no business calling himself a web-developer.


I'm amused. A person who can't cope with a "Cannot modify header information" error shouldn't pass himself of as a web-developer.

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Typo: s/of/off/g –  Mechanical snail Aug 6 '12 at 6:10
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I don't think 'establish' is apt in that context. An alternative could be "consider" as in ...should not consider himself...

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Consider would fit here, but it seems to be a little "soft". I want to say that person should not even dare to think he is a web-developer. "Consider" assumes he can think of it, right? :) –  Nemoden May 23 '11 at 1:32
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