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Background:

Despite strong criticism, a federal program continues to operate with its faulty program design.

The Employment Insurance (EI) program differentiates unemployed workers' access to unemployment benefits based on their region of residence (much like a postal code lottery: if you live in region A, you qualify for benefits; if you live in region B, sorry can't help ya!). This design or aspect of the program is called "regional differentiation" (this is a widely known term in the area).

I am trying to capture this in my sentence below. I am using "persist with", but I am not sure if I am using it correctly, and if the whole sentence conveys the intended meaning.

Why does the EI commission persist with regional differentiation? (This is the sentence I want to fix!)

From Cambridge, to persist is to try to do or continue doing something in a determined but often unreasonable way. This is the meaning I want.

Is the preposition "with" correct in this case? I know that "persist in doing something" is the commonly used phrase. I know that "persist with" is used like this: persist with [a course of action]. In my case, "regional differentiation" is the main feature of the EI program.

If I were to write it out in simple terms, it would read like this:

Despite strong criticism, the EI commission continues to differentiate workers' access to benefits based on their region of residence. But why?

Question:

What does "persist with X (=compound noun)" mean? Does it mean to continue applying X despite criticism? Does saying "Why does the Commission persist with regional differentiation?" make sense? Does it mean what I am trying to explain?


Note: My reader by now knows what I mean by "reg. differentiation" very well, it has been explained thoroughly before. Here, I am trying to write down a few "questions"- Why this? Why that? and so on. I am just not sure of the use of persist in this case - if it captures the intended meaning.

  • I provided an answer, but after some discussion I removed it. The reason was not that it was a poor answer but it is actually unclear what you are asking in the post. Please clarify with a single question. – G Warner Mar 23 at 18:07
  • @GWarner I am asking if "persist with" is the right set of words to use in that bold question. Does saying "Why does the Commission persist with regional differentiation?" make sense? Does it mean what I am trying to explain (which I have explained in my question)? – AIQ Mar 23 at 18:11
  • My original answer retrieved. It had been pointed out my answer may be too drawn out and confusing, and I should consider editing it. It is my own experience has been to answer a question and explain the reasoning for it. – G Warner Mar 23 at 18:32
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Yes, the preposition "with" can be used as you propose.

From Merriam-Webster Dictionary:

  • on using "persist" in a sentence:

The reporter persisted with his questioning.

  • on recent examples from the Web:

The additional returns that investors demand to hold corporate bonds are increasing as market volatility persists from coronavirus concerns and an oil-price war.

— Sebastian Pellejero, WSJ, "Corporate-Bond Investors Shy Away From Risk," 11 Mar. 2020

Though neither sentence is exactly like yours, I argue that taken together they make the case that your question conveys the meaning you want. I will do this by comparing the formulas for each, beginning with the ones you present in your question.

QUESTION: Why does the Commission persist with regional differentiation?

FORMULA: persist with X (=compound noun)

SAMPLE SENTENCE: The reporter persisted with his questioning.

FORMULA: persist with X (=possessive pronoun+noun)

SAMPLE FROM WEB: The additional returns that investors demand to hold corporate bonds are increasing as market volatility persists from coronavirus concerns and an oil-price war.

FORMULA: persist from X (=compound noun)

As shown, the preposition "with" can be used in "persists with" when the noun is preceded by a possessive pronoun+noun. As also shown, "with" can be substituted by another preposition, i.e. "from." In the Sample From the Web, "persists from" is used when X equals a compound noun. Thus, I conclude that we can say "persist with regional differentiation."

NOTE: I disagree with the description of "compound nouns" for the above two cases. "Regional" is an adjective derived from the word "region" to describe the noun "differentiation." Likewise, "coronavirus" is an adjective describing the concerns causing the market volatility. Including this in my argument would have called for unnecessary convolutions, since it was not pertinent to the issue in question.

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    +1 Thanks for the great answer. And you are right - that isn't a compound noun. – AIQ Mar 28 at 3:57
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I think your last sentence puts the matter very well. Your previous sentence seems good, too, if you have already introduced and explained the term "regional differentiation", but I think your last sentence, in "simple terms", is a little better.

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  • Thanks for the answer. My reader by now knows "reg. differentiation" very well, it has been explained thoroughly before. Here, I am trying to write down a few "questions"- Why this? Why that? and so on. I am not just sure of the use of persist in this case - if it captures the intended meaning. – AIQ Mar 20 at 11:39
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You have used ‘persist’ correctly. However, if the commission is undergoing criticism, it would be excellent to include that, as well as who is doing the criticism, if you haven’t mentioned it elsewhere. It would be good to include because it’s information that would help the reader understand two things: what the commission is persisting in spite of, and who is resisting the commission — that is to say, why the commission ‘persists’ rather than just ‘doing’ it, and who is making them ‘persist’.

‘Persevere with’ could also be used instead of ‘persist with’, but it depends on the strength of the opposition; persevering with something is often more difficult than persisting with it.

Hope that helps!

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  • Yes, I have checked the boxes on all those things. Thanks for pointing them out. – AIQ Mar 26 at 1:02
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You used persist (to continue an action regardless of an opposing action) accurately here because the opposing action has been identified at the being of the statement. Leave out the opposing action described in 'Despite the criticism' and the reason they persist would be less clear.

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