I am going to make up a sentence.

(ex) The advanced certificate is given to recognize the completion of my accounting program or my completion of the program.

Which phrase in bold is correct?

  • I'm not sure, but I think both are correct. It's just two ways to say the same thing. – Rodrigo Sartori Jarouche Feb 5 '17 at 9:38
  • "Completion of my program" is usual and idiomatic. – Khan Feb 5 '17 at 9:54

Your sentences are grammatical but not quite idiomatic. Normally the idea is expressed without "my". In any case, the certificate is not awarded to recognize your completion of the program. It is awarded to those who complete the program. It was awarded to you to recognize your completion of the program. Present tense is awarded refers to the general case or circumstance.

The certificate is awarded to students upon (their) completion of the program.

I received the certificate upon (my) completing the program.

You could say:

I received the certificate upon my completing the program.

but my is not necessary and is not usual, although it is grammatical.

What is the nuanced difference between upon completion and upon completing?

is awarded ... upon completion states that completion of the program is the requirement for the certificate at all times, whereas I received it upon completing refers to the act of completion as it happened, in time.

So, if you are going to refer an actual awarding of the certificate, the certificate you received when you completed the program, upon completing would be the better choice because -ing has a temporal meaning which allows it to be a better partner to the tense of received:

I received the certificate upon completing the program.

But if you are going to refer to the object of recognition, then the true noun completion would be the better choice, for in that case we are speaking in generalities not of specific actual instances of individuals completing the program.

The certificate is awarded to recognize completion of the program.


I would say it depends on how formal your sentence needs to be

my completion of the program
The advanced certificate was awarded in recognition of (my) completion of the program.

is usually a better choice since the emphasis is that you completed the program.

completion of my program
"An advanced certificate will be awarded upon completion of my program" the instructor told his class.

may be understood to be the program was given/taught by you without additional context.

I will be awarded an advanced certificate upon completion of my program.

is easily understood if you are talking to friends or people who know you.

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