I was typing a sentence that confused me a bit. Any help would be appreciated.

I'm noting down what's needing completed before the meeting.

What would this mean?

What I want to communicate is that I am noting down a few bullet points to discuss and I am doing that before the meeting. I fear the sentence might sound like the things need to be completed prior to the meeting.

Adding a comma between seems confusing too.

I'm noting down what's needing completed, before the meeting.

Any pointers?

  • 2
    I certainly understood your sentence as meaning that the things needed to be completed in readiness for the meeting. You could get round it by putting 'before the meeting' at the beginning of the sentence. (Also 'what's needing completed' reads oddly to me as a British English speaker - maybe it's acceptable elsewhere.) Apr 9, 2021 at 10:26
  • 2
    I would probably use "I'm noting some items that need to be completed, before the meeting." Leaving out the comma puts the completion(s) before the meeting, so the comma is needed, as you have said. Depending on what is to happen at the meeting I might use discussed or decided instead of completed.
    – Peter
    Apr 9, 2021 at 10:53

1 Answer 1


The comma seemed to me to be an attempt by the writer to disconnect "before the meeting" from "what's needing completed". That would mean that the things that need to be completed may not be prerequisites to the meeting itself, but just stuff that has to get done. If the writer meant to speak of prerequisites to the meeting, there is no earthly reason to put a comma there.

I admit that a point against my opinion is the fact that the writer could have said "Before the meeting, I'm noting down what's needed completing."

To my ear, this sentence is contorted and, as we have seen, ambiguous. Why not either "I'm noting down what has to be done in preparation for the meeting" or "Before the meeting, I'm noting down what has to be done."

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