0

I have doubts on placing “within [time]” in the following structure. What would be its best possible place?

  1. Within three months Def Jam changed its mind and cancelled the contract.

  2. Def Jam cancelled the contract within three months because of her racy style.

  3. Because of her racy style, Def Jam cancelled her contract within three months.

3
  • The three sentences have different content: #2 and #3 delete changed her mind and add because of her racy style. That may make a difference in where you can place the temporal; could you rewrite this with parallel content? Jun 21, 2015 at 17:52
  • @StoneyB: Here is the complete write-up: Lady Gaga dropped out from Tisch School of the Arts and signed a deal with Def Jam Recordings. Def Jam, however, canceled the contract within three months because of her racy style, and Lady Gaga ended up working as a burlesque singer.
    – Roy
    Jun 21, 2015 at 18:15
  • Numbers 2 and 3 are grammatical and idiomatic. However, the first, whilst possibly grammatical, seems to me as though it should employ the pluperfect ...'had changed its mind and had cancelled the contract'. At least, that is how I would put it.
    – WS2
    Jun 21, 2015 at 21:26

2 Answers 2

0

You can generally swap clauses in a sentence, insert a comma and retain its meaning.

Def Jam cancelled the contract within three months.

means exactly the same thing as

Within three months, Def Jam cancelled the contract.

Another example (from a random sentence found on this web page):

Should introspection be encouraged in light of the new standards for graduation?

can be replaced with

In light of the new standards for graduation, should introspection be encouraged?

In 2 and 3 you have done that with "because of her racy style".

It is perfectly acceptable to do so and doesn't change the meaning of the sentence. In a sentence with three clauses you could mix them up even more:

Because of her racy style, within three months, Def Jam cancelled her contract.

or

Within three months, because of her racy style, Def Jam cancelled her contract.

are both fine and mean the same thing.

4
  • ThankU @Avon for nicely describing it. Hmmm, confused what to choose :)
    – Roy
    Jun 21, 2015 at 18:20
  • You're welcome @Roy. There is no best one. For short sentences, the one that isn't split into clauses (e.g. the first quote in my answer) is probably marginally better. If the sentence is long and the second clause is really important context for the first then swapping them might be better. When writing or speaking you pick which reads or sounds better and that depends on the context of other things that are being said before and after: you might mix things up to stop sounding repetitive.
    – Avon
    Jun 21, 2015 at 18:25
  • @Avon, you are right about reading aloud to figure out which sounds best. I have picked the following one: Lady Gaga dropped out from Tisch School of the Arts and signed a deal with Def Jam Recordings. Def Jam, however, canceled the contract within three months because of her racy style, and Lady Gaga ended up working as a burlesque singer.
    – Roy
    Jun 21, 2015 at 18:28
  • @Roy looks good to me :)
    – Avon
    Jun 21, 2015 at 18:39
0

There is a difference of meaning between the first and the two other sentences. In the first sentence, Def Jam changed his mind within three months or did these two actions within that period of time. In the two other sentences, Def Jam canceled her contract within three months.

That's how I see it.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.