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I'm writing a quotation and have to estimate a delivery date. My estimate is that we will make the delivery at January 1st. However, this will be impacted by when the project starts. It is in our interest to start as soon as possible and want to express this in a subtle way.

The delivery date is estimated 01.01.2015, but may be accelerated if the commencement of the project is earlier than 07.07.2014.

According to my good friend, google translate, the "delivery may be accelerated" is the proper way to express this. Google returns 62000 hits for this phrase, so I won't be the first to write it that way, however, I'm not so sure it's the best way. Also "commencement of the project is earlier than" feels a bit wrong. I would actually like to write accelerated there, but in that case I can't use accelerated in the first part..?

I don't want to write: "The delivery date will be impacted by the commencement date" as I want to focus on the positive (it can be done sooner but not later).

Any views on this?

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    Why not just "We expect to deliver the _______________ on 01.01.2015, or sooner if if the project starts before 07.07.2014"? – Brian Donovan Jun 26 '14 at 11:21
  • @BrianDonovan: Good question =) – CG. Jun 26 '14 at 11:46
  • see discussion regarding the word prepone. lets make this a thing :) – Kinjal Dixit Jun 26 '14 at 12:08
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Please don’t consider Google Translate your friend. He is a most treacherous and dangerous friendship to make. Consider him more of a casual acquaintance who is occasionally useful in minor matters (and who must always be independently verified).

Accelerate is used to refer to making a process move faster, possibly in order to move something ahead in time; but not the action of moving that something up to an earlier point in time itself. So for example, you could say that you were accelerating the deadline if you were speeding up the process of the project in order to be done sooner; but if the deadline moves just because the whole project is moved to a different time (for whatever reason, not necessarily to hasten it on), then you wouldn’t say that the deadline is accelerated—it’s just moved.

Move forward and push forward are the most common terms used to describe this type of moving, although this can (in some contexts) create a bit of confusion: forward when relating to time can sometimes mean ‘to a later time’ rather than ‘to an earlier time’. A good alternative in your case here would be simply to skip the verbal clause altogether and use earlier.

“The commencement of the project” sounds unnecessarily pompous. It is much simpler and easier to use start (or even launch, since this is a project we’re talking about) instead of commencement. And it is much more idiomatic to use start as a verb in this sense, instead of saying that the start of something is on a certain day.

Thus, I would say:

The estimated delivery date is 1 January 2015, or earlier if the project is launched before 7 July 2014.

  • Accelerate can also mean speed up the happening of an event, which does seem to fit. – Frank Jun 26 '14 at 10:55
  • @Frank In a way … but it feels very awkward to me in this context. The OED gives the definition for that sense as “To hasten the occurrence of (an event); to bring (an occurrence) nearer in time, by quickening intervening processes or by shortening the interval”, which is not quite the same. It’s more like hurry on than move forward. There is also a sense “To assign to an earlier date, to antedate”, but that is marked as obsolete and rare, and it’s definitely on the wrong side of borderline grammatical to me. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Jun 26 '14 at 10:59
  • Thanks for answering Janus =) Would you use launch for smaller projects as well as large ones? The dates I wrote were random, the project will only last a couple of weeks. – CG. Jun 26 '14 at 11:04
  • Yes, I might well use launch even for a smaller project, though start might be better: “… or earlier if the project starts before 7 July 2014”. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Jun 26 '14 at 11:12
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    I think you should at least acknowledge the possibility of prepone, even if it does have strong associations with "Indian English". But apart from that I think this is a good summary of the position. – FumbleFingers Jun 26 '14 at 12:46

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