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I'm working on an employee manual and I came across this one: "Our team philosophy is to become the best of which we are capable."

Is this a correct sentence? The point it's trying to get across is clearly that there are all these things of which one is capable and we would like to become only the best of them, so should it be, "to become the best of that which we are capable?"

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    There is nothing technically wrong with the sentence; but if I were reading it as a new hire, I would roll my eyes at the stilted formality of the wording—especially since the underlying sentiment is essentially a rehash of the old U.S. Army slogan "Be all that you can be," – Sven Yargs Sep 3 '14 at 18:04
  • Actually it's a John Wooden quote, but I think you'll find "fulfill your potential" to be a pretty standard theme for anything that asks you to tell your body to shut up and keep going. – Gerger Sep 4 '14 at 14:48
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Simpler:

Our team philosophy is to become the best we can.

(Or, "... we can be.")

Perhaps even simpler:

Our team philosophy is to become the best.

Or more honest:

Our team philosophy is to become the best we can be, knowing that occasionally we'll screw up big time, but hoping that we'll learn from those mistakes and not repeat them, but also knowing that we probably will.

I'd work for a company that was that honest (and had that sense of humour).

  • You did not answer the OP's question. He/she simply wants to know if a certain usage is correct. – ba_ul Sep 13 '14 at 15:08
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Gerger clearly states that the meaning of the statement should convey that the team are capable of doing many things and they wish to be the best at all of them. That is not what the statement is saying and only the lack of punctuation tenuously indicates to it.

I understand the statement to mean that the team are capable at becoming the best, and if that is what they mean, then it should be written:

Our team philosophy is to become the best; of which, we are capable.

To accurately convey the meaning Gerger refers to, it should be:

Our team philosophy is to become the best at that which we are capable of.

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======================================================================= This is a proper version : Our team philosophy is to become the best, of which, we are capable.

Some research lead me to this weblink, of which, I am a member.

https://www.englishforums.com/English/OfWhichUsage/xmzck/post.htm

http://gmatclub.com/forum/usage-of-of-which-121702.html

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    This is patently wrong. The comma after "which" is nonsensical. There doesn't seem to be any way of saying what you want sensibly and succinctly. My best suggestion is "...to become the best (that) we are capable of becoming." That still sounds kind of awkward, though. – GentlePurpleRain Sep 3 '14 at 22:56
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    Sorry, Manish, but that made no sense. – ba_ul Sep 13 '14 at 15:09
  • @asif.m, I concede. – Manish Oct 3 '14 at 20:43

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