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Which sentence below uses the correct sentence structure?

I'm at the Hearing Officer's convenience.
I'm at the convenience of the Hearing Officer.

  • Welcome to ELL, William, and thanks for your question. Please take some time to read our tour and Help Center pages. They will help you to write a useful question. – P. E. Dant Jul 19 '17 at 22:35
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    Both sentences are identical in meaning, and both are proper English. – P. E. Dant Jul 19 '17 at 22:47
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    Interestingly enough, we would say, "I'm at your convenience,* but not, "I'm at the convenience of you". – Andrew Jul 20 '17 at 0:20
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    @Andrew English doesn't inflect for the genitive case, which leaves us with such oddities. Or maybe there's a whiff of Chomsky's "universal grammar" in that observation. See this question at ELU. – P. E. Dant Jul 20 '17 at 1:06
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I am a native AmE speaker.

I am at the Hearing Officer's convenience.

This is close to the idiom "at your convenience" and it sounds like your timing is convenient in reference to the Hearing Officer's schedule. You may need to speak to them, but you can wait for them to have a free moment instead of needing to schedule an appointment.

I am at the convenience of the Hearing Officer.

This one suggests that you can be of assistance to the Hearing Officer. You are available to run errands or do trivial tasks to make their life easier, much as a personal assistant would.

  • You should probably include that in the answer. – Eddie Kal May 30 '18 at 22:43
  • Definitely does. It gives clarity to a possible BrE/AmE distinction. I just upvoted. Good answer! – Eddie Kal May 30 '18 at 23:06
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Some context may be helpful since both sentences are grammatically correct.

To me, the first one sounds slightly better out of context, but again...depending on your intent (or where you elsewhere found these choices) the second may work better.

Just in case some definition is helpful: Each sentence describes a state of waiting, basically at the mercy and whim of the Hearing Officer; whatever matter is at stake will not be addressed until the Hearing Officer takes the initiative.

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Both of these sentences are grammatically correct. But, the different usages of the term "convenience", can give different meanings and expressions in the statements being used.

I am at the hearing officer's convenience

The above gives the impression that, I am here, at the person's comfort or convenience. This is the more suitable one.

I'm at the convenience of the Hearing Officer.

The above, sounds very unprofessional. Someone else might get a very different expression to the actual meaning of this sentence. Always better to follow the most commonly used structure.

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In common English usage, the term 'convenience' can also have the meaning of toilet, so to say "I'm at the Hearing Officer's convenience." although quite correct could mischievously be misinterpreted.

Therefore the better choice would be: "I'm at the convenience of the Hearing Officer." - but, given that the context of the sentence is somewhat formal, my preference would be: "I am at the convenience of the Hearing Officer." - in order to avoid the informal "I'm".

  • "In common English usage, the term 'convenience' can also have the meaning of toilet" That's a British usage. – Acccumulation May 8 '18 at 22:38

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