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I specialize in system programming by using C++.

This is a résumé of an applicant. Is it grammatically correct?

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closed as general reference by tchrist, MετάEd, Hellion, Kristina Lopez, Matt E. Эллен Apr 17 '13 at 11:25

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.

If you don't know the answer, then you certainly shouldn't be counting it against him or her. – advs89 Jun 14 '11 at 3:12
It's a bit short, though. – Unreason Jun 14 '11 at 7:44
up vote 7 down vote accepted

cout << "It's not great, but surely you're not employing them for their english skill. :P";

The way it's phrased (esp. "by") suggests that they specialised by using C++; that their use of c++ has made them a specialist. For example: "I specialised in tropical medicine by studying for another year at University X".

It's almost certainly not what they're trying to say: something like "I specialise in system programming in C++" or "with C++" or "using C++" would probably be better, or even "I specialise in C++ system programming."

But really, it's very nitpicky.

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-1 Nice. Where is the answer, though? – Kris Apr 11 '13 at 8:04
It is grammatically correct, but not very flattering of the candidate if interpreted strictly. Other, similar, also grammatically correct sentences, would give a better impression of the candidate, and may well be what the candidate intended to say. – Bill Michell Apr 11 '13 at 8:40

The grammar is technically OK, but the phrase "using c++" suggests its author is a neophyte. People who actually do systems programming for a living usually say that they write C++.

Indeed, this is nitpicky, but writing software could be said to be nitpicking to its extreme. The people who eventually select candidates for interviews are generally software people, so they're bound to nitpick at least a little.

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The first clause of your first sentence is not categorical. The rest is commentary. Please try to provide cut-and-dried answers as far as possible, along with authentic reference(s) where possible to qualify as a good answer. – Kris Apr 11 '13 at 8:05

It is grammatical but awkward. And the way it's phrased makes the meaning ambiguous.

Is it saying that the applicant is specializing by using C++? Or is this the applicant's way of merely saying that he or she uses C++ when system programming?

Perhaps it would be better expressed the following way:

I specialize in system programming with C++.

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