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I need to explain to a client what we will do in each phase of a project. In the last phase of the project we will develop a roadmap. My doubt is the following: May I start a sentence with "develop"?

~ GOAL ~

  • Develop and detail the strategic implementation plan.

Is that correct or should I use "To develop and detail..."?

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    What you quote is a phrase describing one of the stages of your project. It's fine as one of a list of 'bullet points', but it isn't a complete sentence. If you were writing a paragraph rather than a list, you would have to begin "We will develop...". Commented Mar 6, 2023 at 15:25
  • Thank you, Kate! You really helped me! Commented Mar 6, 2023 at 15:31
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    Not directly relevant to the question, but developing and detailing a strategic implementation plan is not a goal, it is a task. The goal is to have a plan (preferably a plan with some specified properties); the development of the plan is a task or activity. Commented Mar 7, 2023 at 12:38
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    I need to somewhat disagree with @KateBunting for the sake of completeness. In all fairness, it is a complete and grammatically valid English sentence, although with a slightly different meaning to it. we can interpret "Develop" at the start of the sentence as an imperative, i.e., you are instructing someone else to do this. This works because in English, the "imperative mood" of a verb is always equal to its's base form, in this case "develop", and is put at the beginning of a sentence or subclause.
    – inVader
    Commented Mar 7, 2023 at 15:44
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    In my experience with American English, at least, "detail" as a transitive verb is not frequently used to mean "provide details for"; it's more often used to mean "to clean thoroughly." I would suggest "develop details of strategic plan" instead, or "develop outline & details of strategic plan" if you want to emphasize that it's being done from scratch. Commented Mar 7, 2023 at 18:01

1 Answer 1

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It looks like you're making a bulleted list, so you have some leeway in how you choose to structure it - you're not limited to complete, fully grammatical sentences, you may also choose to structure it as a list of items or sentence fragments.

The important thing when making such a list is that you use parallel structure across the items, meaning that how you phrase each item individually isn't so important, but that you need to phrase them all in the same way. As a simple example of parallel structure, one might say "I like running, swimming, and biking," but not, "I like running, swimming, and to bike".

It's OK to list the items as noun phrases or as actions or in other grammatical forms, so long as all list items take the same form. Often there will be lead-in text that indicates what form the list should take. For example, here are 3 ways of writing the same list with different forms for each item:

Our goals are to:

  • Develop and detail strategic plan
  • Communicate with client
  • Take over the world

Our mission is:

  • To develop and detail strategic plan
  • To communicate with client
  • To take over the world

Goals:

  • Development and detailing of strategic plan
  • Communication with client
  • World domination

I would find the first or last styles shown here the most natural, as the infinitive form seems a little awkward/wordy.

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    Often there will be text that introduces the bullet list. It can be something like "We plan to:". The infiniteive "to" in the introduction obviates repeating it in each item.
    – Barmar
    Commented Mar 7, 2023 at 16:43
  • @Barmar: And if it's a slide out of a presentation, the "introduction" is likely omitted. You just have a title and a bullet list, with terseness favored. Commented Mar 8, 2023 at 13:04
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    @MatthieuM. Quite true, slides, like headlines and signs, are often not complete sentences. A bullet list is frequenly just a list of phrases.
    – Barmar
    Commented Mar 8, 2023 at 15:32

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