I am writing to a university.

Plus, XXX University is doing a great in the researching areas. For example, just a week ago, researchers from this university joined the ESA's Rosetta mission, that will shed new light on how Earth formed.

the researcherd joined the program a week ago from this day. but i don't know when the university will read my letter. so I don't know it is correct to use just a week ago or English has something else to use in this case.


  • 1
    If your letter has a date on it, there's no big problem. You could always just say “researchers . . . recently joined . . .” to cover yourself. Jan 24, 2014 at 22:16
  • @TylerJamesYoung if i used recently without a specific date, i should use have joined, not just joined, right? Jan 24, 2014 at 22:18
  • Yeah, “recently . . . just joined” seems redundant. Jan 24, 2014 at 22:33
  • @TylerJamesYoung so you implied that have joined is the correct? sorry i ask alot but i am bad in english Jan 24, 2014 at 22:35
  • No, sorry. Just use (simple past) “joined”. The version in James’ answer is good to go. Jan 24, 2014 at 22:40

2 Answers 2


Yes you could say "For example, researchers from this university recently joined the ESA's Rosetta Mission." Using a relative time is problematic in writing. The sentence "I will see you at the meeting tomorrow" in an email that is read the next morning creates more confusion than just giving an absolute date. For example "I will see you at the meeting on Tuesday" is more clear. Although if the meeting could happen on the Tuesday of any week, we are back in the original situation. So the most clear would be "I will see you at the meeting on Tuesday 1/28."


Avoiding relative time is preferable. If you want to use relative time for some reason, an alternative would be "... a week ago as I write..."

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