I have written the following sentence, but I think that I should use an "AND" between "down" and "Success", on the other side, by doing so, the phrase would become rather ugly and awkward (3 "and" among 4 words), should I use a comma or something like "as well as"? and what about the rest of the sentence. Is it academic for a SOP?

Throughout my personal and professional careers, I have encountered ups and downs, success and challenges, which have made me well experienced in handling problems in critical situations.

  • [please note: made me well experienced is not idiomatic at all]. Also: what is a personal career? Do you mean personal life and professional career?
    – Lambie
    Jan 3, 2019 at 13:50
  • @Lambie After reading your kindly comments, I have become aware of the logical problem of the sentence. So, I have changed it as following: Throughout my professional career, I have encountered ups and downs, successes and failures, which have made me well-skilled in ameliorating critical problems.
    – Sasan
    Jan 3, 2019 at 17:08

2 Answers 2


The strategy you have adopted, in which success and challenges acts as a supplement to ups and downs—in effect, it "renames" ups and downs—is entirely proper to a rhetorical genre like an SoP.

However, success and challenges is not strictly parallel to ups and downs.

  • Both components should be plural—successes and ...
  • Challenges is not really polar to successes as downs is to ups. A challenge is something you may either succeed or fail to rise to. It's really sort of weaselly here; a sophisticated reader will take it to mark your unwillingness to admit that on occasion you have actually failed to rise to a challenge. FumbleFingers' suggestion, successes and setbacks, is admirable.
  • okey, I got your point, what about "successes and failures"? does it make more sense?
    – Sasan
    Jan 3, 2019 at 13:26
  • 2
    A better "restatement" of ups and downs would be successes and setbacks (or ...and failures, but I like the alliteration of repeated initial "s"). Plus setback is slightly more "euphemistic" than failure, which might matter to OP. Jan 3, 2019 at 13:29
  • @FumbleFingers Really nice. I've stolen it. Jan 3, 2019 at 13:34
  • 1
    While I was writing the comment I put "alliteration" in scare quotes, cos I was thinking "it's a pretty weak example of the device", but I knocked them out before actually posting, cos I thought I already had too many quote marks in the text. It's only after your comment made me look at this again that I realised it's actually quite a strong alliterative coupling, on account of the four preceding s sounds in successes. (I was a poet but I didn't know it, as they say! :) Jan 3, 2019 at 13:43
  • 1
    Yes, but then the OP goes off, correcting what s/he has just learned and leaving the rest all wrong. I dunno, but I see that as problematical.
    – Lambie
    Jan 3, 2019 at 14:03

Use "as well as" in place of "and".

From Merriam-Webster:

as well as conjunction
: and in addition : AND
// brave as well as loyal

  • As well as is not equivalent to and: it marks a parenthetical, not a conjunct. Jan 3, 2019 at 12:57
  • @StoneyB That's not at all true. That's one way it's used, but not the only way. The first sense of the phrase at Merriam-Webster is "and in addition : AND // and brave as well as loyal." Jan 3, 2019 at 13:07
  • 1
    And in addition ≠ bare and either. Yes, you see both phrases used this way, usually as a sort of elegant variation on and, but they are not equivalent. Phrases headed by complex prepositions like as well as and (and) in addition (to) can be moved; true conjuncts cannot. Jan 3, 2019 at 13:22

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