My friend and I kind of disagree on the nature of 2 errors in a sentence.

The sentence + the context:

My friend read an advert from an English teacher who wrote (I'm only quoting the relevant sentence): 'I'm most experienced teaching conversation, but it's of course up to you what we learn.'

Now, he's adamant that this sentence is incorrect and that it contains 2 basic errors and that it should have been:

I'm most experienced IN teaching conversation, but it's of course up to you what we'LL learn.

In essence, I agree with him in the sense that I also would have said 'experienced in' and 'it's up to you what we'll learn'. However, I'm of the opinion that I wouldn't really be shocked if I heard it from someone. It does sound a bit clumsy but I don't consider those 2 errors to be unforgivable. To me, they seem as something a person could write when not paying attention or not taking enough time to properly put their sentence together. He keeps arguing that this is something a native would never write while I keep saying that it's not super natural but I wouldn't be surprised to hear 'I have experience teaching' and 'it's up to you what we learn'. Basically I think this error is not as tragic and unforgivable as he makes it out to be.

Do you consider this to be standard usage or would you consider it an error?

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    Hi touts'eteint, welcome to EL&U. Regrettably, I'm flagging this as "Primarily Opinion Based". To avoid its closure, I recommend you edit it - in particular deleting the last paragraph (asking for opinions) - and focus on whether there is an issue of grammar or non-standard usage in the sentence. You might like to read How to Ask and take the EL&U Tour for guidance on what this site is looking for. :-) Jan 30, 2019 at 23:06

1 Answer 1


I agree that “experienced in sounds better. Otherwise, it sounds like there’s an implicit “while”- “I’m most experienced while teaching conversation” doesn’t make any sense- they are experienced all the time, not only while doing a particular task. Though I also agree with you that many people would probably leave out the “in” and the phrase would be understood correctly.

I disagree with your friend about the second part, “it’s up to you what we learn”. This sounds perfectly fine to me. I’m not sure what the explanation is- maybe something about how present tense is often used to describe continual actions that are implied to keep going in the future (e.g. “We learn English” means “We are in the process of studying English and intend to continue”). Also, using “will” can imply a certainty that is inappropriate (how can you be sure the student will learn? “Learn” without the future marker I understand as “study”, whereas “will learn” I understand as “study until mastery is achieved”). Think about rewording it this way (which would also be correct)- “what we learn is up to you”- this sounds fine, as opposed to “what we will learn is up to you”- which sounds less natural.

I also find it weird that a teacher would say “what we will learn” - it is the student who is there to learn, not the teacher. I think they should have said “it’s up to you what we cover”- where “cover” means “go over (material)”- something both a teacher and a student could reasonably do- but that is irrelevant to the question.

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