Which prepositions should I use here ?

Working hours duration time should be below/under the one defined in/on parameter default.time.

Here the context was about programming languages parameters.

  • Just to be sure, do you mean the position of another variable or the value? – Nieszka Jun 19 '12 at 20:03
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    The value of default.time parameter. – utxeee Jun 19 '12 at 20:13
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    Then you definitely want 'less'. To describe relation in value use 'less/more', 'smaller than/ greater than'. To describe relation in position use 'underneath/above'. – Nieszka Jun 19 '12 at 20:17
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    @Nieszka: Very good point. I would prefer "below" over "underneath". – Fr0zenFyr Jun 19 '12 at 20:26
  • @Fr0zenFyr: Ah, very true, for a minute there I forgot we were talking about documentation, not an essay. – Nieszka Jun 19 '12 at 20:28

In terms of language, I would go for:

Working hours duration time should be below that defined by parameter default.time.

If you do mean the value (please see my comment on your question), then you need

Working hours should be less than those defined by parameter default.time.

  • Ho Nieszka, why did you use "comment on your question" instead of "comment in your questions" ? – utxeee Jun 19 '12 at 20:16
  • You comment on something or make a comment about something. You can also think of it as my comment wasn't actually inside your question. – Nieszka Jun 19 '12 at 20:20
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    @utxeee: "comment in question" means that the comment is part of the question. "Comment on question" means that a comment about the question. – Fr0zenFyr Jun 19 '12 at 20:23
  • +1 purely for paraphrasing to get rid of the word "duration", which in OP's construction serves no purpose other than to assert that the writer isn't a native English speaker (and possibly to annoy a few people who are! :) – FumbleFingers Jun 19 '12 at 20:35
  • +1 "less than" was the first thing that came to my mind. Perfect for programmers (<!) – Michael Durrant Jun 19 '12 at 22:09

There are many possibilities, including ones you haven't asked about. When I document software I've written, I like to use as few simple words as possible.

Working hours duration time should be less than the value of the parameter default.time.

I'm a little concerned about "working hours duration time". I suspect that "time" is not needed, and an apostrophe is:

Working hours' duration should be...

  • I would go even further and get rid of the 'duration'. – Nieszka Jun 19 '12 at 20:02
  • +1 for mentioning the unnecessary usage of "time"; duration is time in itself. Using "below" seems fine to me – Fr0zenFyr Jun 19 '12 at 20:06
  • @Nieszka "Working hours" is sufficiently ambiguous to require "duration" as well. My working hours (in British English) are 9-5 or thereabouts; to unambiguously get "8 hours" you need to call it "working hours' duration". – Andrew Leach Jun 19 '12 at 20:48
  • Probably there is a typo in the fragment "When I document software I've written." – user19148 Jun 19 '12 at 20:54
  • @AndrewLeach: yes, I see your point. What would you say about 'work hours' then? Or 'work time'? – Nieszka Jun 19 '12 at 20:57

Use "below" and "of parameter".

There is no need to say "....duration time....", duration is time. "Duration of working hours should be..." is sufficient ("working hours duration" sounds awkward).

As a programmer, I prefer using symbolic representations: "working hours must be < [default.time]" but that's just me.


I would use:

Working hours duration time should be below that defined in parameter default.time.

You could use under, but the context indicates below to mean lower, rather than under, which has connotations of physically being underneath.

A definition is in a parameter, not on it.

  • Thanks for your reply, but why have you changed one to that ? – utxeee Jun 19 '12 at 19:48
  • because you have already used duration time, so you don't then need to say 'the one that is defined', which is what your sentence means - instead you can just say 'that defined' – Rory Alsop Jun 19 '12 at 19:52
  • Rory, I'm not able to upvote yet but if I was certainly you would have got it :D – utxeee Jun 19 '12 at 19:53
  • no worries - you can accept answers. See this for guidance: meta.stackexchange.com/q/5234/154443 – Rory Alsop Jun 19 '12 at 19:57
  • @Rory: It is incorrect to start a sentence with "and". – Fr0zenFyr Jun 19 '12 at 20:00

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