Let's say I am working on some project which has very many steps or stages, and I am supposed to explain their order to my colleagues:

The way it's going to work is A will do X first then C will do Y etc.

How this is going to work is A will do X first then C will do Y etc.

Are these expression correct? Do they sound natural?


Your bold-font phrases are standard informal English. There are many ways to express the idea, e.g., "Here's how it'll work: first A will do X, then C will do Y, then E will do Z, and, finally, G will do the last part."

Explaining the order of things is easier using a chart or just a piece of paper and a pencil. Your English seems good enough that you should be able to handle this without worrying about being understood.

  • Aren't both sentences in the question only correct if they add the word that? ie. "The way it's going to work is that..." Your "Here's how it'll work" is fine by itself of course. – WendiKidd Mar 30 '13 at 16:48
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    @WendiKidd: Firstly, "that-deletion" is a standard feature of English, and secondly, OP's usage is informal English, as Bill says. So it's a bit meaningless to suggest it would be somehow "incorrect" to omit the word here. – FumbleFingers Mar 30 '13 at 16:58
  • @WendiKidd: I think that this is one of those instances where most native speakers will say that the conjunction "that" is optional, which means that most of them will omit it. I wouldn't, but because this isn't a question about formal writing, which is what I'm most comfortable talking about, I didn't even think to bring the issue up. I just assumed that this would be either an oral explanation or an informal written one, and in both cases, omitting the "that" is no big deal, I think. – user264 Mar 30 '13 at 16:59
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    @FumbleFingers I'm aware of that concept in general, but thought it sounded odd here so wasn't sure it was correct to leave it out in this case. As you and Bill seem to be in agreement on the subject, however, I suppose it's just one of those things that is indeed correct but just sounds odd to my ear. :) – WendiKidd Mar 30 '13 at 17:02
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    @Wendi, Bill: Personally, I find repeated "is" (e.g. - "The thing is is that this sentence is rather odd") a bit "strange". But it's hard to fault it on the grounds of grammar, as that answer indicates. All you can say is it's a stylistic variant that for most of us probably looks worse on paper than it sounds in casual speech. – FumbleFingers Mar 30 '13 at 17:41

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