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I'm new to this forum and have a question. I was reading a book last night and a sentence jarred with me a little. As this is my 'go to' website for grammar, I thought I would join the network and ask for feedback (I feel that my grammar has gone to pot as I've got older!).

The sentence described how the narrator had worked with someone previously as follows:

'I had a brief meeting with the features editor, a busy, somewhat tightly wound, impossibly chic older woman who I'd worked successfully with before.'

I was wondering if it should/could have read: "... worked with successfully before ..."

If both are correct, why might you choose one over another?

  • Could you give us the sentence? – SovereignSun Mar 6 '17 at 8:57
  • ...worked successfully with him before... worked with him successfully before. Both are grammatical. It's a matter of style. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Mar 6 '17 at 11:12
  • Thanks for your comments SovereignSun and TRomano (although you are adding in 'him' to sentence, TRomano).The full sentence is, 'I had a brief meeting with the features editor, a busy, somewhat tightly wound, impossibly chic older woman who I'd worked successfully with before.' – user1247077 Mar 6 '17 at 11:45
  • PS: This is your "go to" site, not your "got to" site. i.e. it is the site that you go to. – Peter Morris Mar 6 '17 at 17:27
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Any of these is correct and will have essentially the same meaning.

...successfully worked with before...

...worked successfully with before...

...worked with successfully before...

...worked with before successfully...

The only reason to choose one over another that I can think of would be personal preference. You might choose one over another to fit a rhyme scheme if you were using the phrase in a poem.

  • Thanks, Rob K. I think you're right, and that it is down to personal preference/writing style. My husband would generally write in the style of the author, whilst I would go the other way. – user1247077 Mar 7 '17 at 10:10
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"worked successfully with before" implies that the narrator's work whilst doing it went well.

"worked with successfully before" sounds like the narrator is judging how well the work went overall after they did it.

A very subtle change in meaning that doesn't really matter - both sound natural - although I'd use the first example

  • Thanks, Mozzius. An interesting, but subtle distinction. – user1247077 Mar 6 '17 at 16:47
  • I'd say the distinction is too subtle say definitely that any difference in meaning is intended. – Rob K Mar 6 '17 at 18:26

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