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Imagine that we have a corporate website with a timeline of the company's history:

2003: Construction of a finished dosage forms plant
2004: Establishment of an R&D center at the Moscow Genetics University
2005: Launch of an original drug product for combination therapy of urogenital infections

My main question is: would it be okay to use the gerund-participle form? Like this:

2003: Constructing a finished dosage forms plant
2004: Establishing an R&D center at the Moscow Genetics University
2005: Launching an original drug product for combination therapy of urogenital infections

P.S.

While I was writing the question, I thought - maybe it is better to use the form "COMPANY does something"?

2003: Company launches new finished dosage forms plant
2004: Company establishes an R&D center at the Moscow Genetics University
2005: Company launches an original drug product for combination therapy of urogenital infections

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    I prefer #1 or #3. To me #2 doesn't read as a series of gerunds, it reads as an awkward list of verbs missing their subjects. #3 might be good for a corporate document where repeating the name hammers the brand home, unless seeing Company over and over feels too repetitive.
    – relaxing
    Feb 8, 2017 at 17:33
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    Or {noun phrase}{verb}, e.g. Finish dosage forms plant comes on line. R&D Center established. Original drug launched.
    – TimR
    Feb 8, 2017 at 20:00

4 Answers 4

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+50

For a corporate website, I would prefer the third option (Company launches...) but I would like to see it be a complete sentence and the company name in place of "Company" (you might already be intending to do that, but I wanted to mention it just in case you weren't).

The purpose of the timeline (I'm assuming) is to engage potential clients. I think listing the events without explaining a little bit about why that event was important enough to be included on the timeline isn't going to do that well.

Here are some examples of corporate timelines I think are well done:

Charles Schwab Company History
Ford Motor Company Timeline

You'll notice that the timelines above both use full sentences and active voice. I think this sort of thing is much easier to write and more engaging.

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#1 (noun phrase without verb) is fine. #2 (gerund form) is not optimal, because the "-ing" form suggests an ongoing activity rather than the completion of one. #3 ("Company" + verb in present) is okay, but repetitive.

Another option is general noun phrase (not always "Company") + verb, where the verb will often (but not always) be passive. This option could be mixed with #3 to make it less repetitive.

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I have seldom come across what you labeled the 'gerund-participle' in such cases. To me, and of course, the commonest way to express the milestones is what you added lately i.e. "The company does..."

It also goes fine with the word 'company' omitted. Said that, the first version is also okay. When you mention the year and put the semicolon, it means that now you are describing the event as a statement which means it'll be either like 'Company launches...' or 'Launch of...'

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It will usually depend on what you want to show on the time line.
Usually timelines will show milestones (completion of tasks) and not so much work in progress (your gerund form).

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