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I have some location problems with sentences that have more than one prepositional phrase or conjunction. Examples,

  1. I decided to come there yesterday.

What does it mean? I decided it yesterday or I came there yesterday.

  1. I have been working in order to have good life conditions since I graduated.

Is this correct? I think that "since I graduated" is too far away from "working", because "in order to.." separates them from each other. It seems confusing, what do you suggest? Thanks.

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  • I decided to go there yesterday. Go to a place you are not. Come to a place where you are.
    – Lambie
    yesterday
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We cannot be certain exactly what this means in terms of the going there:

I decided to go there yesterday.

We can be confident that the decision was made yesterday, because if a native speaker wanted to say that the decision had been made long ago, very few if any of them would omit that fact because to omit it would only invite confusion. So let's say that any speaker who has a sense of the ambiguous and a desire to avoid it would not fail to include that fact if it was in doubt:

I decided a long time ago to go there yesterday.

What we don't know is if the going there has taken place yet.

So, I'm going to take a trip to Rome.

--When did you decide to go there?

I decided to go there yesterday.

versus

So you went to London yesterday?

--Yes, I realized last week that business in late August was slow enough that I could manage a day-trip to London yesterday.

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When reading the statements above, the exact meaning can not be inferred without further context. You could infer meaning when hearing these statements based on the emphasis the speaker puts on each word. A good example of this is the statements, “I did not say you stole the money.” Inflection on different words in the sentence could garner 5-7 different meanings. Try the phrase, “What is that up in the road ahead (a head)?”

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If you wish to leave no ambiguity about when the decision was made, you can change the word order

Yesterday, I decided to go there.

("Go" is indeed more natural than "come"). I infer that, because of the sequence of tenses used, both actions occurred yesterday. I am sure there can be other contexts in which what I say may not be the law, but without a context this is the best I can do.

If, however, you say

I had decided to go there yesterday.

one cannot be sure that yesterday determines to go, but what is sure, is that the decision was made earlier yesterday, or on any other day before.

As for your second question about the sentence

I have been working in order to have good life conditions since I graduated.

I don't think it is incorrect, but it might work better like this

Since I graduated, I have been working in order to have good life conditions.

You may want to use in order to improve my life (conditions) instead.

Another possibility

I have been working since I graduated in order to improve my life conditions.

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  • It's standard of living, not life conditions.
    – Lambie
    Sep 23 at 16:20
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Generally, we say come here and go there when referring to ourselves in the first person.

And: I have been working since I graduated to keep up my standard of living.

Generally, I have been [action verb] + since + phrase in the simple past. It's best to keep together the action and the point in time it refers to.

Purpose is shown by using to. Your purpose is to keep up or maintain your standard of living.

Living conditions is not used here. Living conditions is used by sociologists to describe how populations live.

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