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I want to ask this:

What is that all civil engineers do understand that all software engineering better understand also?

My question to you is if the following sentence makes any sense:

What is that all civil engineers do understand that all software engineers might as well do?

Or:

What is that all civil engineers do understand that all software engineers might do as well?

Or are both wrong and sounding weird?

thanks in advance

Edited to add more clarity:

Sorry, I'm not an english native speaker, so I make a lot of confusion. Basically, what I want to say:

What Software Engineers can learn from Civil Engineers.

But I want to use the format:

What is that all civil engineers do understand that all software engineers might do as well?

Maybe is, in the end, would better for me to keep it simpler by just saying:

What Software Engineers can learn from Civil Engineers.

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    The sentence is not 100% clear. Can you put it in different words exactly what you mean to say? (For instance, "better understand" could mean "should understand" or it could mean "understand more fully".) I wonder if you mean: "What is it that civil engineers have a good understanding of, but that software engineers really need to learn also?" ? OR "... that CE understand a little bit, but software eng. understand even better" ... or something else? – Lorel C. Aug 10 '19 at 20:04
  • Thanks for your answer. I mean that there's is something that civil eng. understand that sw engineers should understand also. Exactly what you said: "What is it that civil engineers have a good understanding of, but that software engineers really need to learn also?" – Joao Pereira Aug 10 '19 at 20:13
  • Your "keep it simpler version", what software engineers can learn from civil engineers, is very clear. Sometimes simple is best. – whiskeychief Aug 12 '19 at 9:56
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Edited question. "What is it that civil engineers have a good understanding of, but that software engineers really need to learn also?

I will make a few assumptions, the problem that gives rise to this attempted statement is that the software is not correct or not sufficient for use in Civil Engineering applications.

However the edited Statement (question) has some problems. Civil engineers have a good understanding of Civil engineering because they need to have. But most software engineers do not have this understanding. However they may not need to know Civil Engineering, especially if they are writing software for games or putting men on Mars. Only software engineers writing software for Civil Engineering applications need this knowledge.

What is it that civil engineers have a good understanding of Now I am a little confused about this statement. I will presume your English is reasonable good and your are not using What is it, as Why. Therefore I will take the meaning as; What (technical requirements, use of formulae and related specialised Knowledge) is needed

but that software engineers really need to learn also? This obviously means that software engineers need to know (some specialised things) to write Civil Engineering Software.

Therefore the statement is trying to say What (technical requirements, use of formulae and related specialised Knowledge) is it that software engineers need to to know to write Civil Engineering Software.

so to tidy this up, I would rewrite;

What "Specialised Knowledge" is required such that software engineers have a grounding in Civil Engineering sufficient for them to write adequate Software.

grounding noun a knowledge of the basic facts about a particular subject Cambridge English Dictionary

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  • Thanks, Brad for your comprehensive answer. I edited the original question to make it more clear what I want. In fact, what I want to say is "What SW Eng. can learn from Civil Eng", – Joao Pereira Aug 12 '19 at 9:36
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I had a different understanding of your question to Brad — where I think the idea that you are getting at is more around how civil engineers conduct themselves professionally, rather than an understanding of the discipline of civil engineering itself.

From discussions I've had previously, people sometimes raise the idea that software development is not "real engineering".

For example,

  • in some countries, where the term "engineer" is a protected term by law. You need to be a member of a professional body to call yourself an engineer (similar to doctors, lawyers, accountants, etc.) which involves having a minimum qualification, whereas a lot of software developers are self taught.

  • engineers (again, like other professional disciplines) are often held to professional standards by these bodies. For example, if they signed off on an unsafe bridge, they would liking loose their status. There is no similar system in place for software developers.


So coming back to your sentence:

What is that all civil engineers do understand that all software engineers might as well do?

A few points:

  • You don't really need the first "do". It's not necessarily wrong but — "What is it that all civil engineers understand…" — reads more naturally to me

  • "might as well" on its own is an idiom that means unenthuastically, so your sentence could get read in this way unintentionally. I think it would be more natural to say "might do as well" here.

  • As discussed in the comments, I would prefer "should" here. 'Might' isn't incorrect, but it depends on how you're framing the position / question — "Should" implies more strongly that there are things to be learnt.

  • I'd agree with Brad here that "what is is that all civil engineers understand" sounds like it's about their specific discipline. If that's your intent, that's perfectly fine. If you're thinking of what methods or disciplines they follow (e.g. 'thoroughness', 'professional responsibility', 'ethical standards' etc.) I would focus more on their practices rather than their understanding.

So I would suggest something like:

  • What [practices/mindset/standards] do all civil engineers follow that software engineers should as well?

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