0

When you turn on the radio while the house is quiet , or you use the radio in your car, you have several choices of music to listen to. (The bold-faced comma, first one)

Ok from the content, it is obvious that "you use the radio in you car" is an alternative to "when you turn the radio while the house is quiet", but grammatical I am not sure if anyone would confuse it as another case of "while", like "when you turn on the radio while you use the radio in your car".

Is it absolutely necessary to repeat when after or?

1

When you turn on the radio while the house is quiet, or you use the radio in your car, you have several choices of music to listen to.

That version is correct and perfectly understandable. You could also say, e.g.

When you turn on the radio while the house is quiet or use the radio in your car you have several choices of music to listen to.

I have omitted the second 'you'. Note that some people may prefer a comma after 'car'. Personally I don't find any commas to be necessary.

  • The first one has the possibility of being confusing. People might think "you use the radio.." is part of the "while" clause and not the "when" clause. – most venerable sir Sep 2 '15 at 23:06
  • 1
    @Doeser - I don't think so. I find it almost impossible to read it that way. Even if you try to punctuate it to force that interpretation I don't think you could. Perhaps you'd like to try? – chasly from UK Sep 2 '15 at 23:09
  • Ok what about "when you turn on the radio while the house is quiet or you are driving to work or school in your car, you have several choices of musics to listen to" (here the intended idea is that you turn on radio in two different occasions. How do you differentiate between this one and the one I gave in my question?) – most venerable sir Sep 3 '15 at 0:17
  • I still don't get it. Unless your car is inside your house, surely they have to be two different occasions (?) – chasly from UK Sep 3 '15 at 1:02
  • 1
    Okay, I think I've got it now. You are suggesting the possibility, When you turn on the radio while the house is quiet or while you use the radio in your car...', Maybe that would confuse some translation software but I can't imagine a native speaker interpreting it that way. Don't forget that fluent readers scan a sentence very quickly and are able to extract the meaning without thinking about it. Only 'garden path' sentences or those with many long and complicated subclauses tend to cause any real problems. – chasly from UK Sep 3 '15 at 1:49

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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