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English is not my native language, but I'm a willing pupil and in most cases I'm pretty confident in my knowledge, but sometimes I hesitate to use particular words. I wrote this tweet recently:

I amused. Person who cannot cope with "Cannot modify header information" error should not establish himself a web-developer.

I'm not sure if I made the sentence clear. Shouldn't I have used "establish as web-developer," or should I have not used the word "establish"?

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  • You mean to say that someone like that should not "pose" as a web-developer? May 23, 2011 at 1:17
  • Exactly. Yes... Or shouldn't call himself a "web-developer"
    – Nemoden
    May 23, 2011 at 1:18
  • @Nemoden: well, I'm not a native speaker but it sounds a bit strange to me. However, I'll leave that for native speakers to answer ;) May 23, 2011 at 1:22
  • It sounds strange to me either. That's why I've asked for help here :)
    – Nemoden
    May 23, 2011 at 1:25
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    I think what the OP means is "start a business as a". May 23, 2011 at 1:28

3 Answers 3

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I amused. Person who can not cope with "Cannot modify header information" error should not establish himself a web-developer.

"I am amused. A person who can not cope with a 'cannot modify header information' error should not claim to be a web developer."

That would be a rough fix. An elegant solution would be:

"It's amusing that a person who can't handle a 'cannot modify header information' error claims to be a web developer."

But, in a larger sense, this kind of IT-level sniping is unhappy. If a colleague is having trouble, do not snipe - lend a helping hand.

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  • Claim - this word is totally dropped out from my head and it fits perfectly... I mean this is exactly what I implied. So, can you tell is "establish" any good here anyway?
    – Nemoden
    May 23, 2011 at 2:03
  • I would lend a helping hand only if this person would even try to google just a little bit. It's a really most common problem and the solution is described literary on thousandths of resources. I don't know... maybe I'm such a bad person...
    – Nemoden
    May 23, 2011 at 2:05
  • +1 for elegant rephrasing and wise counsel. But I'd rather call it undesirable than unhappy. May 23, 2011 at 2:16
  • @FumbleFingers: The term "unhappy" has a particular meaning in formal linguistics.
    – The Raven
    May 23, 2011 at 2:41
  • @The Raven: That's as may be, but I think there's very little chance OP (or indeed most people reading this) will be aware of that. We're not on ling.SE yet. May 23, 2011 at 11:44
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try:

I'm amused. A person who can't cope with a "Cannot modify header information" error has no business calling himself a web-developer.

or

I'm amused. A person who can't cope with a "Cannot modify header information" error shouldn't pass himself of as a web-developer.

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3

I don't think 'establish' is apt in that context. An alternative could be "consider" as in ...should not consider himself...

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  • Consider would fit here, but it seems to be a little "soft". I want to say that person should not even dare to think he is a web-developer. "Consider" assumes he can think of it, right? :)
    – Nemoden
    May 23, 2011 at 1:32

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